Intro Session – What is Supervision?

This is a new development. If you go to the link below you will find a short presentation about Clinical/Professional Supervision and what it should be. This is based on my experience and the evidence/literature in the field. I hope it’s of interest and gives you insights into Supervision.

My Enthusiasm for Clinical/Professional Supervision:

My enthusiasm for clinical supervision in SLT started when I did my MA in Professional Training and Development. I discovered reflective practice, mentoring and clinical supervision. I was a Clinical Lead at the time and very used to giving advice but not so aware of models for listening and reflection. RCSLT were developing their reflective practice resource at the time so I got involved in that work too.

Since then I’ve devised and delivered training and set up clinical supervision structures for Allied Health Professionals in three NHS organisations. I just did a quick headcount and I’ve trained about 250 practitioners in Reflective Clinical Supervision & Situational Supervision. Now Clinical Supervision is a cornerstone of Communicology Consultancy and where I am focusing my energy.

My clinical specialisms are in Special Educational Needs, Services to Education, Complex Needs and ASD and I served as an RCSLT Specialist Clinical Adviser in these areas before leaving the NHS in 2019.  I also have specialist skills in Adult Fluency & Voice.

Your supervision 

This can be group or individual supervision (or sometimes both).  Extended Support/Supervision packages are also available for times of transition or change in your career as an SLT. 

Your supervisory support will be based on reflective, guided conversation & solution focused models.

I am committed to developing Online Clinical Supervision groups as well as one to one supervision. My approach is to always have a structured evidence based process underpinning supervision sessions. Alongside this building a trusting supervisory relationship which gently challenges each supervisee’s thinking, developing clinical practice and coping skills as busy clinicians. 

“In a Guided Conversation between 2 or more practitioners the insights and ideas come out of the interaction and reflection on events.”

Clinical Supervision is about more than discussing clinical cases.

If you ask 5 different people what they think clinical supervision is then they will probably all say different things! 

The model I developed is called focuses on wider ‘case-working’, and considers wider (3D) aspects than caseload/cases. I actively listen to the material you bring to work on, you tell your ‘stories of practice’. Case-working situations are ‘freeze framed’ and explored together through the lens of reflective comments/questions giving insight and coaching around taking next steps. 

ARC Supervision includes:

  • how we manage our own caseworking (the demands, the’ juggling’ and how our personal style and character impacts on our caseworking)
  • Changes and transition points (when we change role or job or clinical specialism and our identity as a practitioner)
  • Dealing with day to day ‘mental grime’ of our work (the relationships, barriers & frustrations)
  • Preparing for an interview, difficult meeting, session (anticipating & preparing)
  • Case management & complexity of cases (dilemmas and decisions)
  • Engagement in therapy (the reasons, the challenges and the communication)
  • Overload & Self Care (avoiding burnout and ‘thriving not just surviving”
  • Flourishing & ‘what makes a good day’ at work

Thinking of supervision in terms of Brigid Procter’s model of clinical supervision gives a visual image of a continuum from restorative  to developmental/learning at the other.  Sometimes supervision is closer to the Restorative end of the continuum and sometimes it is closer to the CPD/Learning end. 

If you are in your early career or changing specialism or taking on a leadership role then the focus will be much more on supporting development as you extend your knowledge & skills. 

For experienced practitioners then clinical supervision is usually at the restorative end of the continuum. The session will be a place to ‘check in’, to chat/talk about caseworking that month. Yet there is always some aspect of CPD in a supervision session. 

If you are working independently then your need may be for a ‘sounding board’, a ‘space’ where you take time out to talk about clinical decision making/risk.  How you develop your independent Practice.

In Supervision the ‘material’ you bring to supervision are the stories about your practice. Sometimes it’s a ‘sunny’ day, good news story about something which went well, sometimes it’s a ‘got stuck’ story, a difficult relationship with a professional or client, business development dilemmas. 

Sharing Stories in a Guided Conversation

Deciding on Group or Individual Supervision

This can be a difficult choice. There is a lot of common ground in both types of supervision, but significant differences too.

Individual supervision is invaluable for situations like:

  • Ongoing support & safe space to talk about case-work
  • Analysing complex cases and the ‘backstory’ of the case
  • Business changes/development
  • Deciding on changes in job/career
  • Coping at work and looking for strategies to thrive and not just survive

In a group there is a supportive network of colleagues with listening, supportive insights and gentle challenges to our thinking. Groups are usually closed groups for 3 months before there is a review and any new members can join after that 3 monthly review. The maximum is 6 people in a group, they can work well with 3 or 4 members if there is a strong commitment to attendance. 

Sometimes both individual and group can be complementary and together give robust supervisory support, even for a short period of time. 

Extended Support Package – for ‘Times of Change’

For those times when you are moving jobs or changing specialism then extended clinical support is available. This involves a monthly individual supervision session plus additional support via email/messenger or telephone calls between sessions. The expectation is that this would be utilised sensibly and not continuously by the supervisee! However a weekly phone call and 2 or 3 emails a week is quite acceptable in this Extended Supervisory Support package. 

Supervision for Supervisors

Individual supervision is offered for those who supervise others both as clinical and management supervisors. It is hoped to offer a specific group for supervisors if there is interest in the months ahead. 

Early Career Support Package

If you are in the early stages of your career with a limited support network in your setting then a similar package is available as for Extended Support. You would receive individual supervision and the option of a weekly/fortnightly  phone call and  mail/messenger support between structured supervisions. There is more focus on advisory, clinical support initially as you develop your competencies. You will be supported in the ‘soft skills’ of learning how to time manage your casework/stress levels/networking for future career. 

To Do Lists need to include Clinical Supervision

SLT Assistants

Training Packages and ongoing Supervision can be adapted and delivered for SLT Assistant practitioners.