Supervision is a valuable aspect of professional psychology, and helps to ensure that the interventions offered by psychologists are both high quality and up to date. Psychologists are often immersed in life stories that involve pain, bereavement, misfortune, disappointment and trauma, along with resilience and hope. These vicarious experiences can cause therapists to feel overwhelmed or helpless, and can result in burnout. Supervision offers protection and support to therapists, so that they can continue to help others while maintaining a healthy and balanced life themselves.
I personally enjoy supervising students and colleagues because I love learning from others people’s cases, styles and interests, and I enjoy keeping current with trends through the university training institutions. I especially enjoy providing a supportive environment in which people can learn and develop their skill set. I pitch supervision at the level of the supervisee, providing more structure and support to new trainees, and offering more case consultation and fine-tuning of skills to more experienced trainees or registered psychologists.
I like to supervise by using a variety of learning methods including readings, training DVDs, case consultation, role play and observation of trainees. I seek feedback from supervisees about the process, and work to empower them to guide their supervision process with me.
Specific Areas of Supervision
In my clinical practice, I work primarily with adults, and sometimes see adolescents. I have worked in both the public service, and in private practice, and with clients in mental health wards and the community. I have supervised undergraduate and doctoral students in psychology, multidisciplinary teams working in mental health, and colleagues and peers, and have immensely enjoyed these experiences.
My areas of expertise in psychology include:
- Mindfulness Therapies;
- Trauma and Dissociation;
- Schema Therapy;
- Positive Parenting Programme;
- Neuropsychological Assessment.
I am qualified to supervise:
- General psychologists in training;
- Clinical psychologists in training.
7 Key Points for Supervision (from STAP)
The Supervisor Training and Approval Program (STAP) recommends that supervisors attend to seven aspects of the supervisory relationship during each supervision session.
- The Client: What’s happening for the client?
- Intervention Strategies: What is happening in the therapy?
- Relationship 1: How is the therapeutic alliance between the client and the supervisee?
- Supervisee Reactions: How is the supervisee responding to the process of doing therapy with this client?
- Relationship 2: How is the supervisory alliance between the supervisor and the supervisee? Does it need attention?
- Supervisor Reactions: How is the supervisor responding to the process of supervising the supervisee?
- Systems Around Supervision: What effect are the context of the clinical work, the context of the supervision, the organisation and the institutions involved having on the client, the supervisee and the supervisor?
These questions form the background of supervision sessions.
AHPRA Supervision Framework
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) defines policy about the practice of the profession of psychology in Australia. There are different levels of training that psychologists may complete, with different implications for supervision.
- 4+2 Pathway: Supervision to become a General Psychologist
People who have completed an approved 4 year tertiary course in psychology may become Registered Psychologists if they undertake 2 years of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor.
- 5+1 Pathway: Supervision to become a General Psychologist
People who have completed an approved 4 year tertiary course in psychology in the last 10 years may become Registered Psychologists if they undertake an approved graduate diploma in psychology, followed by one year of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor.
- Clinical Psychology Registrar Pathway: Supervision to become a Clinical Psychologist
People who have completed an approved 6 year tertiary course in clinical psychology may become Clinical Psychologists if they undertake 2 years of supervised practice with a board approved supervisor who has held an Endorsement in Clinical Psychology for 2 years.
AHPRA defines 8 core competencies that all psychologists must demonstrate:
- Knowledge of the Discipline; a psychologist must demonstrate knowledge of evidence-based psychological interventions, psychological processes across the lifespan, a broad understanding of psychological theories and psychopathology.
- Psychological Measurement and Assessment; a psychologist must demonstrate competency with mental status examinations, assessments of potential risks of harm to self or others, counselling skills, diagnostic classification systems, psychometric test use, and report writing. A key aspect of this is learning to formulate how predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating and protective factors link to presenting problems and treatment plans.
- Intervention Strategies; a psychologist must be able to use counselling skills and relationship building to develop evidence-based interventions that link diagnosis and psychological formulation to an individually designed treatment plan that is regularly monitored and altered as therapy evolves.
- Communication and Interpersonal Relationships; psychological practice requires highly developed spoken and written communication skills in order to offer treatments to a broad range of clients and liaise with their families, communities and diverse health care professionals.
- Research and Evaluation; offering up to date evidence-based interventions requires that a psychologist capably reviews current literature to determine which interventions enjoy the most robust empirical support. In some cases, where evidence-based practice is not yet available, a psychologist may be required to develop practice-based evidence, evaluating and monitoring adapted or novel interventions to treat specific difficulties.
- Ethical, Legal and Professional Matters; psychologists are in an unusual position with respect to their clients, in which they learn intimate information about a person who may be vulnerable to exploitation for various reasons. In recognition that clients of psychological services may be at risk of exploitation by psychological therapists, strict ethical and professional guidelines govern the practice of psychology. These standards are highly important to the safe practice of psychology, and are the responsibility of all psychologists on behalf of the profession.
- Working within a Cross Cultural Context; psychologists are required to develop therapeutic relationships and establish empathy with a broad variety of people, and thus must be aware of cultural diversity, and be comfortable working with clients from different cultural, religious, ethnic, gender and sexual milieus to their own.
- Practice Across the Lifespan; psychologists must have experience working with clients of all ages, and be aware of how age and stage of life may influence psychological wellbeing.
Author: Dr Catherine Hynes, BA Hons (Philosophy & Neuroscience), MA (Cognitive Neuroscience), PhD (Clinical Psychology & Clinical Neuropsychology).
Dr Catherine Hynes has a PhD in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from the University of Queensland. She uses evidence-based therapies, and works with her clients in a warm and supportive way to help them decide what therapy and what strategies are most suitable to their personal tastes and circumstances.
To make an appointment, you can book Dr Catherine Hynes online, or freecall Vision Psychology on 1800 877 924 today.