Professional Supervision

Why have supervision?
What are the benefits?

By its very nature, working with distress in clients raises questions and challenges. Being in touch with the clients’ experience, faced with their pain, difficult behaviour or stuckness and what this raises in you can be both curious and challenging.  It can make considerable demands upon clinicians where there is often little time for reflection on one’s practice.  Supervision provides a safe and supportive environment in which you can undertake facilitated in-depth reflection on the experiences that arise in your practice. Supervision can affirm the successful aspects of your practice as well as facilitate your continued learning and development. 

Through receiving supervision from Dr Kirsty Freeman, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care said:

“I was able to identify areas of good practice, which may have been coloured by personal feelings, and to accept affirmation. A particular example was in supporting a young father who was facing death and saying goodbye to his children and the fact that this would leave them fatherless”

 In supervision, client care is discussed in a confidential setting and, where necessary, gently challenges and provides feedback on your practice in a constructive and supportive way. This helps to further develop your understanding of clinical and ethical issues, self-awareness, self-care and other skills and strategies which can help you to sustain the supportive care of clients, increase feelings of personal well-being and stay strong and effective in your work.

About the supervisor,
Dr Kirsty Freeman:

Kirsty is a NZ registered Clinical Psychologist who trained in the UK and in qualified 1998. Her clinical experience has entailed working with both older adults with mental health issues and adults with chronic and life-limiting physical conditions in public healthcare, ACC contracts and privately. She has worked as a Senior Clinical Psychologist as a clinician, a supervisor and a healthcare professional trainer.  She has also embarked on Advanced Supervision Training and is a member of a network of supervisors NZ wide. She has been involved the supervision of a range of healthcare professionals, all of which has been very well received. She also believes very strongly in developing effective self-care amongst clinicians.

Kirsty’s approach to supervision
The Mindful Way

Kirsty flexibly uses of a range of supervision models to suit the individual. As practitioner and trained teacher of mindfulness she also brings a fresh approach to exploring what is brought to supervision by drawing on mindfulness-based approaches. Kirsty is strongly influenced by mindfulness attitudes, principles and practice in her work and life and so if you wish she can facilitate the growth of the ‘mindful clinician’ within you and when and how to introduce mindfulness safely to clients.

Applied to supervision, Kirsty has found that through using a mindfulness approach clinicians are:

  • better prepared for reflection by mindfulness helping them to create stillness and focus for the mind and develop more therapeutic presence.
  • more self-awareness and less judgemental and self-critical in their work
  • more open to safely exploring their emotional responses to the caring work they do.

From this mindful place, better learning can take place about ourselves, our interactions with others and the actions we take in professional working and practice.  Mindfulness can also help us to be more present and awake in our work.

The focus of supervision is tailored to individual need, your learning style and customises the relationship and environment to suit your development and is then worked into a supervision agreement. For example:

  • Reflecting on and making sense of challenging work situations
  • Coping with the impact of working with people in distress
  • Finding ways to solve problems and making use of clients own strengths and skills
  • Improving communication skills and therapeutic relationships
  • Better understanding of work relationships
  • Developing self-awareness and managing feelings of distress in self and others
  • Using a mindfulness approach in working with people
  • Learning how to manage the uncertainty of not knowing all the answers

The ultimate benefit of professional supervision is for clients to receive the best possible service, as well as you to develop and learn from your experiences; to do this mindfully greatly enhances both the supervision process and the care that you are able to provided back in your work context.

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“Sessions have allowed professional and personal reflection and affirmed how important these techniques [of reflection] are.”
“The feedback was always considered and helpful. The skills of the supervisor were very commendable.”
“The whole process was extremely positive and helpful, both personally and professionally.”