On Supervision: I remember a time in supervision when my supervisor greeted me with the words..
“So, what is it today, Shaura—interdimensional parrots?”
I took a deep breath and replied something along the lines of, “No, what do you think about a non-dimensional universe? I’m ready to go home.”
At which he said, “Ah, right. “It’s going to be one of those sessions, is it?
I came across supervision when I was training with The Minded Institute. My supervisor was just marvellous, and she helped me to develop my confidence in client sessions. I was asked to join the Minded team to supervise students in 2013, where I learned how to support students to get the best out of their training. Funnily enough, one of my first supervisees was a very experienced psychotherapist who taught on a supervision program. That was quite confronting, but we agreed early on that I would be myself, and he would be himself, and we would see what happened.
Nonetheless, I was keen to understand more, so I signed up for a certificate in supervision. It was a most insightful training. One of the most significant things it taught me was that I primarily experience data in the field through my body, and I also realised that all of my senses provide information about what the field wants to transmit. At around the same time, I became interested in the form of Psychotherapy called Processwork by Arnold Mindel. My supervision training and processing experiences helped me deepen my understanding of how we can hold mirrors to see behind the supervisee and help them better hold their clients.
Over the years, I have learned to value supervision because it helps me locate myself, my clients and students and supports my work in the training programs I create. The continuum I experience myself on is vast, and I can draw information from many places at once. I have learnt to keep a great deal of the data to myself. However, I have needed to be able to share my operating system with another human being.
I have heard myself say many times, ”if I can just get to supervision …” I enter the room with a big sigh, and something in me says okay, I’m here. My body relaxes as I enter the space that allows me to discuss my clients and the broader field of my understanding of the work. My system also works by informing me and processing what is moving in my groups through my dreams. I often bring dreams into the session because they hold so much information for me.
The supervisor mentioned in the first paragraph gave me a space to take my students and clients and look into the transference. It helped me to see which aspects of my unintegrated self were showing up. Said supervisor is fluent in the energetic, neuroscientific and spiritual domains, which helped me show up as my quantum self. As my need grew, I entered into relationships with supervisors with different backgrounds and experiences. I think we learn from each other, and I’m happy to know that I am practising responsibly for the people I hold. For me, the body is the centre of our being. It has been crucial for me to work with someone who appreciates the somatic experience. I’m always learning, so it’s been important for me to work with someone with a background in academia. It is also essential that I have a supervisory place that is dedicated to Spirit. I found that I can know myself better through these relationships.
Supervision is certainly not a therapeutic relationship. However, as a person, I am in the relationship, and some of my processing and some of the client’s processes are therefore connected. It may have been in an interview with Carl Rogers I read that said we begin to see our own problems and neurosis is showing up in our therapy room. It is therefore necessary to have a supportive relationship with someone whose primary focus is the client, and who helps us be the best therapist we can be. This means remaining curious about what the field wants to make known through my therapeutic relationships.
On the subject of the somatic experience… my clients and groups have gotten used to me asking what is happening in their bodily
systems. And sometimes their bodies will tell me when something has been missed; perhaps a micro-movement or something
flashes through my system. It helps us to pause for a moment, freeze-frame and delve into what is there in the somatic experience. And often, we find that the body holds some information relevant to the client or situation.
It is unfortunate that some of the emerging helping traditions do not yet have a system for regular supervision. And I think that training providers and therapists who bring a new wave of understanding into our therapeutic culture will eventually recognise the necessity for supervision regarding good practice.
It’s essential to put a high value on supervision because:
We never stop learning… unless we do.
Our awareness of the Self doesn’t stop growing… except when it does.
Our client work gets increasingly competent… until it doesn’t.
Our ability to know ourselves is constantly increasing… save when it stops.
The value of supervision is that it continues to drive us, and we continue to propel ourselves to see more of what is in the room and to hear more of what is not being said. To feel more of what cannot be felt for ourselves, supervisees and their clients.
Over the years, I continued supervising the students at The Minded Institute, and in the last few years, I have moved more into thebackground to oversee the team. As the frame of therapy continues to grow and shift, I’m seeing people have so much more interest in the role of the somatic experience. And so, I have finally put together a training course to meet the growing need for good quality supervisors in the fields of Yoga and Somatic Therapies, whilst also sharing somatic processing styles for those who have been located in traditional talking therapy. In short, I want to share a group experience that polishes mirrors in the therapeutic space, and one where the role of the body as the portal to present-moment awareness can be fully recognised.
This Professional Supervision Training: A Somatic Approach is CPD accredited course with the National Council for Integrative Psychotherapists (NCIP). Find out more about Supervision with me here.