What is Supervision?

Supervision is a supportive place where staff can reflect, process and receive support in their work with children and adolescents, and their families.

Supervision is a key element of many health care professions, and a professional requirement in some such as counselling, but has not yet been as developed in school settings.

The structure of each session is agreed with the supervisee(s) to make the most of the time available.

Supervision has many benefits:
  • Supervision can give you more ‘headspace’, greater self-awareness and understanding leading to a better work life and a reduction of the emotional burden that you take home

  • Somewhere to talk about and ‘offload’ about children’s mental and emotional health, work place stress, school politics, pressures, the ‘emotional load’ of your job and the impact of managing safeguarding issues

  • A separate space to reflect on your professional practice and personal responses

  • An opportunity to refresh and re-charge your batteries, giving you and your staff increased resilience for your work

  • Somewhere to reflect on the needs of the children you work with and reflect on your own responses to this, especially in areas that are especially difficult or challenging

  • Somewhere that enables you to learn and grow through a supportive relationship

  • Somewhere to be supported and to feel valued and to think about your own needs

  • Somewhere to reduce the feeling of being alone and to present different way of thinking or understanding a problem

  • Somewhere to share challenges and frustrations, and of course celebrate successes

  • The benefit may be felt by the organisation as a whole, and lead to less staff absenteeism.

What it's not:
  • Therapy, though it might be therapeutic 

  • Staff counselling, mentoring or coaching. 

  • Somewhere where we are trying to tell you how to do your job or manage your workplace

  • A place to make observations about your competence or review your performance

  • A place for blame, and the shame that can come with this

Our approach

The framework we adopt for schools is to focus on providing a safe, supportive and welcoming experience for supervisees, where they will not feel judged when discussing their own responses or difficulties.  We aim to provide a containing and reflective space to process stress and the uncomfortable, sometimes painful, experiences of working with children and young people, and their families.

A creative approach can be really helpful in gaining understanding and insight into whatever is being discussed in supervision.  This means that supervision can be enjoyable, as well supportive. However, any creative exercises would only be carried out with full agreement of supervisees.

There are many approaches to supervision, but it generally fulfils three functions:

Developmental: To provide a regular space for the supervisees to reflect upon their work.  To develop understanding and skills within the work. To receive information and another perspective concerning one’s work.  

Resourcing: To be validated and supported both as a person and as a worker. To ensure that as a person and as a worker one is not left to carry difficulties, problems and projections alone.  To have space to explore personal distress brought about by the work.

Qualitative:  To explore ways of becoming proactive rather than reactive.  To provide a space for self-enquiry within your work.

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