Brisbane Counselling Psychologist, Naomi Griffin, provides supervision for Christian ministry and leaders. Here she explains what that involves, and the benefits to the leader, their family and flock …
I am a long-standing member of the Uniting Church in Australia, and am a registered supervisor within the church as well as with the Psychology Board of Australia. Thanks to my own training in supervision, career development and spiritual direction, I am in a unique position of being able to bring together resources from several interrelated fields to the supervisory relationship.
Supervision for Christian Leaders
Supervision in the Christian faith begins with the establishment of a supervision agreement, in which both parties discuss goals for supervision, frequency of supervision sessions, and the expectations of supervisor and supervisee.
Depending on which denomination you align with, there may be certain reporting requirements such as to a senior member of the church’s presbytery or diocese. It is handy to note that the cost of supervision is a tax deductible business expense. You might also discover that your church or presbytery can budget for a certain number of supervision sessions per financial year, so I encourage you to speak to senior members of your community about sources of financial support in this vital aspect of professional development.
Juggling the Work/Life Balance
I prefer a collaborative approach to the supervisory relationship, one of mutual respect, and will readily invite supervisees to contemplate, reflect upon, and freely discuss with me about challenging aspects of their practice of Christian Ministry. I see the supervisory relationship as a safe space that has a clear separation from the supervisee’s workplace and community of faith, a space in which we can both name and articulate those frustrations and those hurts as well as celebrate those achievements that are all part of the Christian walk.
As you may have gathered from reading the Articles of Interest on my profile page, self-love and self-compassion are important values to me as a mature Christian. Time and time again, I see how these values can be neglected when one is devoted to ministry. Ministers invariably feel pulled in many directions by members of their community of faith, with expectations placed on them that may be unrealistic. These expectations may come from others or may be self-imposed, or may indeed be a mixture of the two. Given this challenging culture, I intentionally and regularly ask supervisees to reflect on their self-care, their management of professional and personal boundaries, their own spiritual development, and all of the practical hassles of working in a field that is anything but a 9 to 5 job!
Author: Naomi Griffin, BA (Psych & Music); Grad Dip in Pastoral Couns; PG Dip Psych; Grad Cert Case Management; Grad Cert Ed Studies (Career Development); STAP; MAPS; MCCoun.
Please Note: Naomi is not currently practising at Vision Psychology, but is continuing to provide supervision for provisional (including 4+2 and 5+1) and registered psychologists, and for ministry agents in the wider Christian community. If you would like information regarding supervision, or would like to book an appointment with a Christian psychologist, please contact Reception on 1800 877 924.