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How Does Your Garden Grow? The creative process of Counselling Supervision

Are you looking a qualified or trainee counsellor looking for an Supervision experience that is both creative and exhilarating?  In this article, Kathryn Sim, a Senior Accredited Counselling Supervisor working at The Hope Street Centre describes how the process of supervision can be so much more than a necessary chore! 

Some years ago a counsellor admitted to me that he had never really thought he needed supervision. It all seemed a bit superfluous, another hoop to jump through as part of his training. But then, he said, his perspective changed. He realised that far from it being tedious, it was in fact an indispensable part of his professional and personal journey.

Where else can one really spend over an hour every month really examining, questioning and exploring the process of counselling?  There is of course the inevitable parallel of the client’s journey. There is the development of a relationship, the challenge of blind spots, the inevitable learning and improving of skills.

I have been a supervisor now for a good few years and have delighted in seeing counsellors grow from trainees to professional practitioners, from apprentices to master-craftsmen and craftswomen. Pedder describes three types of supervisor: the potter, the gardener and the jug. The potter moulds the supervisor after his or her own image; the jug pours information into the passive recipient. But the gardener promotes growth by providing the soil, tending, watering, giving the right amount of light and trusting to the innate process.  I hope that I am such a gardener, enjoying the seedling emerge, bud and blossom. Yes sometimes one has to do significant uprooting jobs, clearing away weeds, pruning or just leaving the plant to run a little wild. But all that provides an opportunity for the whole garden to yield great and luscious growth.

And sometimes the gardener can get it very wrong, through neglect or misuse of power. The most important thing is that we learn so much from each other ‘let everything become your teacher’  as John Kabat –Zinn wisely acknowledges. So supervisees have much to teach us as weathered supervisors, as of course, do our clients.

At the Hope Street Centre, there are four Counselling Supervisors and if you would like to know more about how we work, you will find our details on the website. So don’t imagine that supervision is just about jumping through hoops, come and enjoy the creative and hopefully exhilarating process that is supervision.

Kathryn Sim Senior Accredited Counselling Supervisor (BACP)

Ref. Pedder J (1984) Reflections on the Theory and Practice of Supervision
Kabat-Zinn J. (2009) Let Everything Become Your Teacher

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