Linda Thomson is just one of the senior therapists offering professional supervision for counsellors, psychologists and social workers at Vision Psychology. Here, Linda outlines her areas of expertise and supervisory approach …
Different frameworks are offered in supervision and I specialise in Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) / mindfulness supervision.
After completing a Masters of Counselling in 2005, I became a clinical supervisor on the management team with Child Protection before moving into the role of clinical supervisor/team leader at Anglicare and St Vincent De Paul counselling services.
My masters’ degree and ongoing counselling role, combined with the training and experience that I received in working at management level, has given me a passion for supervising, mentoring and developing people. I am currently a social worker in private practice in Brisbane, and I can offer supervision in person, via skype or phone consultation.
A good counsellor needs to have a strong awareness of his or her own values, beliefs and attitudes – as well as their biases – as this awareness lessens the danger of these impacting negatively on the counselling relationship. We all operate within a personal belief system but counsellors need to have the ability to work within the client’s values and beliefs system, not their own (1, p360). Professional supervision can help foster this understanding.
Why Professional Supervision?
As with all professionals, counsellors need to be constantly upgrading their knowledge and skills. Supervision is part of the process to ensure there is ongoing development of psycho-therapeutic techniques, models and strategies, and to help counselling professionals stay abreast of the latest research and evidence. In this way, we are not short changing the clients or ourselves, as often counsellors are motivated by professional development (ibid).
Counselling can be a very stressful career. Ongoing professional supervision is a tool that can help to prevent burnout. Burnout is an ever present danger in the helping industries, especially in counsellors in the early stages of their career, or for counsellors working in agencies with very high caseloads. A supervisor can help to put prevention strategies in place, as well as helping the counsellor to notice any symptoms (ibid, p377).
Though it is vital that all counsellors have the ability to self-monitor and supervise themselves, and to be able to observe and evaluate their work with clients objectively, there are still many reasons to be proactive in undertaking regular supervision.
Of course apart from professional supervision being a necessary ongoing requirement for membership to professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society, a good supervisor can help with:
- professional and personal development;
- a parallel relationship in which we are supported to change ourselves, as we help our clients to under go change themselves, and finally;
- there is research to show that good supervision correlates with overall job satisfaction (2, p33).
ACT Supervision can help counselling professionals to develop further knowledge into how to intregrate ACT into their therapeutic work, in the following ways:
- By developing the confidence to using the Psychological Flexibility model (above), the Matrix and the ACT Triflex (pictured below) with clients;
- By becoming comfortable using the frameworks of ACT in their own lives, as well as with their clients;
- By equipping with the skills and abilities to help clients problem solve and to commit to values-based committed action;
- By broadening awareness of your own thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, how this relates on a personal level, and how this relates to clinical work.
If you are a counsellor, psychologist or social worker wanting to discuss your professional supervision needs, please feel free to make an appointment with me.
Author: Linda Thomson, B Arts, Social Science, Human Services, Masters of Counselling, Master Social Work Studies, Social Work, Member – AASW.
Linda Thomson has many years of experience in different fields of counselling, and has also managed counselling services in the not for profit sector. She has been involved in training and mentoring counsellors, and providing professional supervision.
To make an appointment with Counselling Professional Linda Thomson, you can try online booking – Mt Gravatt or call Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.
- Corey, G., Corey, M.S., & Callanan, P. (2007) Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (7th ed). Belmont: Thompson Brooks/Cole.
- Harris, Russ. (2009) ACT Made Simple. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications
- Hawkins,P., and Shohet, R. (2000) Supervision in the Helping Professions (2nd ed). Philadelphia: Open University Press.