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Tips for getting the most out of your supervision sessions

Our supervision time is valuable!

While it can be quite normal to be led by your supervisor in your supervision sessions, it’s important to remember that supervision is a two way relationship. We have the right but also an obligation to get the most out of our supervision and to direct it in a way that is going to best benefit us which ultimately benefits our clients. Let’s face it, we ourselves know what is going to work the best for us, we can’t assume someone will know this for us. 

Here are some tips for you to get the most out of supervision:

Go to Supervision prepared 

You’ve probably heard this before, but being prepared is a vital ingredient of good quality supervision. 

So how can you go to supervision prepared? Write a list of the things that you want to discuss, have some pre-thought or self-reflection about situations or events (check out my self reflective worksheet for this) and keep a record between supervision of things you need to discuss so that you don’t forget. 

Speak up for what you need

Don’t assume that your supervisor knows what you need (they aren’t a mind reader after all!). Let your supervisor know what is going to work for you in supervision, things such as; what kind of learner you are, having some professional goals you want to discuss. Help to direct them with what you need. Also consider giving your Supervisor feedback (obviously in a polite and constructive way). An example of this is “for my next supervision, I was wondering if we could start by talking about my professional development? As I have some ideas I would like to run past you to develop my skills”. 

Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to hear it! 

A way to push yourself out of your comfort zone is to ask for feedback (and of course to take the feedback on board). Some supervisors themselves struggle to give feedback and so let them know that this is what you want. Think about asking your supervisor to come prepared with feedback on your performance, as it may be hard for them to think of specifics on the spot. Send them an email beforehand saying “for our next supervision could we start the session with you giving me some feedback on my current performance”.  I used to have a supervisee who, towards the end of each session would ask for feedback. I admit at first I found it uncomfortable as I couldn’t think of what to say and felt I needed to plan this,  however we got into a routine of it and I always made sure I thought about feedback before each session and we got into a great rhythm of feedback giving. 

Be vulnerable 

Now obviously you are going to have to judge this before letting yourself be vulnerable, as you will need to know how your organisation and supervisor works and that you are safe to do this. However if you can, being vulnerable will greatly benefit your practice and ultimately your clients. Wanting to learn more about this? Do yourself a favour and go read/watch the queen of vulnerability herself Brene Brown. 

Do you use these tips in your practice? Comment below and let me know!

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