Now this is a question I get asked a lot “How do I best utilise supervision?”. Everyone talks about how you have to make the most out of supervision; however when you ask people how they use their supervision time, the conversation tends to stall.
Within this post we will explore the 5 main topics you should be covering in your supervision.
Now I know that there are many models of supervision out there that you can access (Check out the Brief Summary of Supervision Models written by Smith, 2009). However, they appear to lack the practicality needed to allow graduates to implement the guidance in their own supervision.
Still looking for a Psychology related Job? No worries, check out the 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university? or the 5 Tips on Getting that Assistant Psychologist Job to get your foot through the door and start utilising your supervision.
1. What’s New?
Now this may sound very basic, however, the essence of supervision is to check how YOU!! are doing since the last supervision session. I personally use this section to talk about any issues or exciting news I have received over the past couple weeks along with anything outside of my clinical practice that may have hindered my work-life balance.
Top Tip: Use this section to talk openly and honestly with your supervisor. Remember they are helping you develop so if there is anything that is particularly bothering you that may be effecting your practice then try to discuss this in supervision.
This is where you get into the core of supervision. Talking about case loads or cases that you have been involved in is the heart of supervision and I encourage everyone to bring at least 1 case to discuss with your supervisor. This could even come in the form of another clinicians case that you may have found particularly interesting. Either way this is your opportunity to sharpen your clinical skills whilst also giving yourself a oppertunty to reflect on your practice.
Top Tip: Ask as many questions as you can to your supervisor in regards to cases. I remember spending around 1 hr 30 mins questioning my supervisor on a client we had seen recently and on her formulation around the case just to gain a better understanding and to inform my own clinical knowledge.
This is the section I feel most Psychology Graduates struggle with. For some reason, a lot of people I have spoken about supervision with are shy to ask their supervisor about future development opportunities. They are there to develop you as a clinician, however they can’t do that unless they know what you are interested in. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been given the opportunities I have experienced without directly asking for them (My ADHD intervention publication would never have happened if I didn’t ask for it to happen!). I CHALLENGE EVERY GRADUATE FOR THEIR NEXT SUPERVISION TO ASK THE DEVELOPMENT QUESTION!! and see how many doors that opens for you.
Top Tip: If you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the raffle! that’s my advice to all graduates. If you don’t ask for the opportunity, you will never get the opportunity. IT WONT JUST FALL INTO YOUR LAP!! Trial this out in your next supervision and see the endless possibilities (you can thank me later!)
No supervision is complete without the Reflection Section (that sounded so much better in my head!). I’ve stated before in other posts (check out the 5 Tips on Getting that Assistant Psychologist Job) of the importance of reflecting on your experiences as a clinician, and its no different in supervision. Use this time to talk with your supervisor about HOW you have grown since last supervision and HOW that has happened. This is a lot harder than you think (especially if your new to this concept) so I would advise to be honest with your supervisor and see if they can help with this. Don’t worry, it’ll become second nature in no time (and so will the interview invites!!).
Obviously this comes at the end of supervision were you set outcomes and targets for the next supervision. This could also be reviewed at the beginning of supervision to see if tasks have been completed or targets met. Targets and outcomes could range from reading a certain chapter in a book to reading every PsychAssist post (Hint!, Hint).
Top tip: Discuss in supervision of developing a protected time for some developmental reading which could be within your field or something that could inform your clinical practice.
Bottom line is, everyone uses supervision in different ways. I am only showing you one practical way to maximise your supervision sessions. You may want to implement all of the tips above, or you may want to pick and choose certain tips to implement. Its completely up to you!
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The views within this Post are completely my own and are no way linked with the Trust I work within!