Professional supervision is a supportive experience available for all counselling practitioners where a counsellor has a fellow professional as a mentor and provider of emotional support, information, and guidance. It is a reflective process that can include self-care, ethics, theories in practice, and professional growth. This is a valuable experience for the supervisee who is seeking to grow both on a personal and professional level from the experience and knowledge of an empathetic supervisor. Some beginning counsellors may feel hesitant or threatened by the idea of being judged and choose not to seek supervision, but all counsellors need supervision and benefit greatly from it, regardless of how much experience you have.
Managing stress and fatigue
Supervision exists to improve the capability of counsellors which will of course add value to their clients’ experiences. Supervisors are also there to check on the counsellor’s mental health and ensure they receive the care they need. Counsellors are not infallible to the same difficulties that people come to them with. While supervision is a separate discipline to counselling, counsellors can use it and the direct link they have to a professional from the same industry, to help resolve their own issues and prevent compassion fatigue or burnout in what is a draining profession. The supervisor offers a sounding board for the counsellor’s concerns and can spot the symptoms of undue stress and the early signs of burnout, which can often go unnoticed by the counsellor. There is always a danger of burnout in this occupation, especially for counsellors early in their careers, and a supervisor can propose strategies to inform the counsellor on how best to avoid this.
Upgrading knowledge and skills
Being able to discuss counselling sessions and receive feedback from a supervisor will also give the counsellor an objective insight into their own performance. A counsellor should always be looking to learn more and improve their skills, no matter where they are in terms of experience. With the help of a supervisor, the counsellor can be debriefed on their performance and gain more objectivity when examining issues raised in counselling sessions and their responses to them. A supervisor will comment on practices and advise their supervisee with their industry knowledge and alternatives. This gives great opportunities to acquire new insights and discover how to better help clients.