Ideas on how to get the best out of supervision for Allied Health Care Professionals

Important: Decide before the supervision session what you want to bring.

Sometimes recalling interactions or work done out loud is helpful. Other times it is a sign of not being prepared or being excessively independent and this will lead to you not feeling fulfilled from your supervision session.
Allow yourself to be helped, Knowing one does not know is a strength!

Supervision should be collaborative and contain 3 elements
Normative: How is your work going?
Formative: The educative element, helping, what is your learning edge?
Restorative: Taking care. Are you looking after yourself?

Ways to find out what you could benefit from bringing to supervision:

  1. Consider
    What Work are you pleased with?
    What was difficult for you?
    What are you uncertain about?
    What are you looking forward to?
    Are there any anxieties with any of your service users or how you are working with them?
    Do you have a client that reminds you of someone?
    Do you have any fantasies about the client / outcomes?
  2. Scan your client records and see if anything stands out you might like to talk about.
  3. Make a priority list of issues arising for exploration in supervision (come prepared).
  4. Think about what you want to learn.
  5. Consider how you might present your material to your supervisor / supervision group.
  6. Any organisational issues, supervision issues, course issues. (don’t let things build up)
  7. Are you stuck with a service user?
  8. Are your service users issues resonating with your own?
  9. How are the boundaries? (do you begin on time and end on time?)
  10. Could you benefit from role play or other creative modalities as ways to imagine into your service users world more?
  11. Do you feel bored, angry, entertained, parental….at work?
  12. Where in case loads are you, beginning, middle, end? How is this? How are you with these phases. (it’s good to know our own styles of ending for example)
  13. Do you just need to put something down.
  14. Has a client stayed with you a lot since your session.
  15. Are you recognising any elements of feeling punitive, rescuey or victim at work. This is helpful to be able to recognise and is a strength to bring into awareness.
  16. How are you finding the dynamics, your place in the staff team?
  17. Are there any issues about the supervisory relationship or supervision sessions that need addressing?
  18. Would you like to use supervision in a creative way (sand tray, chair work, drawing etc)
  19. What CPD (continuing professional development) training would keep you inspired?
  20. Are you Trying to hard and en route to burnout? (read below)

The Starfish Story
A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.
“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.
“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”
“But, old man, don’t you realise there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”
The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”