Pschotherapists and Counsellors
I offer clinical supervision to psychotherapists and counsellors. I have experience with supervising practitioners in G.P. Surgeries, Student Counselling Services and Private Practice. My style is to provide solid and creative support, so that the therapist can offer the same to their clients. I have trained in using Hellinger’s Systemic Constellations and may involve that approach as a way of increasing the effectiveness of supervision, where it is appropriate.
In addition, I have experience of non-managerial supervision with groups and individuals working in challenging environments, for example, Women’s Aid. I have facilitated organisations with a non-hierarchical structure, to help them work together more effectively.
Supervision for Coaches
Increasingly being seen as necessary for quality control and coach personal well-being and professional development.
I am particularly interested in supervision on supervision (consultation).
My Approach to Supervision (and Consultation)
How can practitioners be resourced to work effectively and ethically with their clients? I believe the supervisory relationship is a significant factor. I think it is important to create an environment where people feel safe to be themselves, in both their resourcefulness and their vulnerability. In my experience this is best achieved by deep understanding of the complexity of the situations in which practitioners work, and a willingness to know them as unique human beings.
My psychotherapy training is in Gestalt and I bring its underlying principles and practice to the supervision and consultation process. Gestalt is profoundly relational and embedded in context. It acknowledges the fundamental importance of the field in our experience of being and connecting. Each of us has an individual field that is unique to us, although there is commonality with those of other human and non-human beings. Our family background, life experience and current state make our take on the world and our way of relating to it unique, while having to share a planet, the need for air, water and nourishment etc. are universal. Gestalt values the meeting of two (or more) individuals in the unique context in which it takes place, and considers it be the fundamental context for learning, growth and change.
Setting up in Private Practice
For practitioners of any discipline setting up in private practice can require a whole new set of skills. In addition to a high level of competence in the service we offer, we also need to develop entrepreneurial and business skills so that we can run our new business in a successful, safe and legal way. Most of all, perhaps, we need to feel solid and confident that we are offering something that is of real value to our clients. I can help you to:
Publicise your practice effectively so that you can attract the clients you want.
Set up in a way that is safe and secure for both yourself and your clients.
Keep accounts and deal with the Inland Revenue
Surround yourself with support and find your way to success!
The word epiphany is often used in literature when a character comes to a new realisation that leads to a change of heart, freeing them to act differently in a particular situation. Traditionally, Christians have used the name epiphany for the visit of three wise men to the child in the stable at Bethlehem. Celebrated on January 6th, it marks the end of the Christmas period. The wise men have been so long in coming because they had a huge and difficult journey to undertake. Guided by a star, and encouraged by one another, they carried gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh towards a yearned-for destination. Did they know what they would find at their journey's end? Or even if their arduous journey would actually lead anywhere? They had faith in their chosen marker, that bright, unfamiliar star and they trusted that their gifts would be adequate when the moment arrived. Maybe we could take comfort from them on the difficult journeys each of us has to take to arrive at an end place that has meaning and significance - a new way of being in the world.
Posted 29th December 2013
The characters in Jane Austen were always concerned with their connexions, their extended family and contacts. Knowing the right people seems to have been important for success from the earliest times. Traditionally, children from prominent families would meet at school, then the circle would be widened at university. David Cameron's cabinet choices are a present day example of how this works. I've been researching how to improve my web presence, which has meant that I have set up some new pages on Facebook, and plan to be involved with Twitter. It seems strange to ask people to 'Like' what I include, even though I'm assured it's what they expect (and I dutifully 'Like' things when others invite me to). Social media is demanding a new approach to connecting with others. This very piece of writing is an example. You are reading my words, yet we may never have met and possibly never will. Or maybe you are someone I know well. I guess the 'Like' button gives you an opportunity to let me know that you are out there, and we have made this small connection. So, if you want it, here's a chance to respond to me now.
Posted 18th September 2013.
The Living is Easy
It's summer. My book is with the publisher and I've been in France on holiday.You may have noticed that I'm using the time when I'm less busy to update my website. More changes coming soon.
Posted 19th August 2013
Where did that time go?
The buds have finally dared to emerge after a few days mild weather. I am still writing, and still working too. Deadline soon, so it will be just a few days more until I can blink at the sky and start make new plans.
Posted 19th April 2013
The Power of Regular Practice
In this I have clearly fallen short. My resolution to write something new each week on my blog page seems to have been swept away by all the bad weather. Happily, it is never too late to start again, so this is what I am doing. Part of the reason for my being distracted from the blog is that I am writing a book. The deadline is the end of April and I'm feeling a huge pressure of time. The only way I can deal with it is by making sure I write, at least a little, every day. Sometimes that doesn't happen because of work commitments and, to be fair, time off just to enjoy myself, but I notice that if I lose the discipline of regularity it is hard to pick it up again. Writing gurus like Julia Cameron (Author of 'The Artist's Way', a guidebook for reclaiming creativity) recommend that just deciding to set aside time do something: writing a book or a blog, learning meditation or a musical instrument, or a new language, and keeping to the commitment, whether 'in the mood' or not, is a powerful practice. WIll I be able to keep making regular entries to this blog? We'll find out next week...
Posted 30th January 2013
After weeks of rain at the beginning of the summer, a person I met in a shop remarked that the weather was so bad you just had to laugh! I firmly agreed and we smiled together at the uncontrollability of torrential downpours. Maybe life events are a bit like weather. Sometimes it can feel like so much is going wrong the only thing to do is have a laugh about it. Rudyard Kpling's poem 'If' talks about meeting 'triumph and disaster and treat(ing) those two imposters just the same'. Perhaps this is what he meant! The passage of time brings calmness and perspective about any situation. We never know in which new direction a setback will take us. In any case, there is something about acclamation that can feel more hollow than disparagement. A former teacher of mine used to say, 'You either win or you learn.' And I suppose either of those is a gift.
Posted 24th July 2012
Old is Us
I recently heard a radio programme that referred to an entity known as 'The Elderly'. Of course, the discussion concerned people over a certain age. The presenters talked about that group as if they were something separate, remote and foreign. In fact, all of us will become 'elderly' at some time and, when we do, we probably won't feel much different from the way we do now. 'Elderly' is actually something to be desired - the alternative, after all is death.
There could be a temptation to separate people into recognisable life stages: we begin as children, become people and then progress into 'elderly'. I remember that, as a child, I resented very much being categorised that way. I imagine that I will feel similarly when people describe me as 'elderly'. One big difference is that children don't have an understanding of being grown-up or old; mature people know only too well what it means to be a child and an adult because they have experienced it.
Is 'elderly' something we recognise in ourselves, or is it something that others press upon us? At what point might that start to happen? The answers to those questions seem to be changing with the times.
The danger of creating a category called 'elderly' is that they/we become less than human. The results are the lack of care demonstrated in some contexts where vulnerable people could feel entitled to have their needs met, and a situation where a section of society becomes alienated, their/our voices not heard.
It seems important to stop going further down that road, not least because (hopefully) we will all arrive at that certain age someday, and would like to find it a comfortable place to be. Perhaps caring about the language we use may make a contribution. I would like to abolish the word 'elderly' and recommend caution about the word 'old'. Perhaps we could refer to 'older people' or 'retired people', and be aware of how very soon 'they' will become 'us'.
Posted 19th June 2012
The Possibilities of Reparation
Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we have to take a decision and, whatever we choose, someone will be left feeling hurt or ill-used. This happens often in families, in workplaces and among friendship groups. Occasionally we have to take large, life-changing decisions that result in others being deeply hurt. The consequence can be a feeling of guilt that is hard to shift. Ancient religions recognise that human beings need to make reparation for the hurtful things we do. We may be able to make reparation to the actual person we've hurt. More often, there is no opportunity for that. In those circumstances we may choose to offer some service to other people as a way of making restitution. This could involve volunteering to help directly, or taking part in fundraising activities. It may also involve 'random acts of kindness' that we can indulge in as we carry on with our lives.
Posted 8th May 2012
Inspiration v Dedication
Inspiration feels like excitement and an impulse that carries me forward into action. It feels easy. WIthout inspiration there has to be dedication and hard work. It feels like an effort. Obviously, I prefer the lift of excitement brought by inspiration. But sometimes the discipline of just doing it anyway (whatever it is) takes me somewhere different. It is as though the tension of the clash with my resistance enables something fresh to occur. Of course, often there is just the slog...
Posted 15th May 2012
Want? or Need...
How do we know whether we want something or need it? Is there a difference? One way of understanding what this might mean for you is to remember when you achieved or acquired something that felt very important, but afterwards left you feeling strangely flat and unsatisfied.
Various aspects of ourselves prompt us to think, feel and act in different ways. It is almost like having a crowd inside clamouring for attention. Some of the aspects are expressions of our authentic selves, others might be identities (or masks) that we have adopted in order to deal with difficult situation, or to fit other people's expectations of us. When we find ourselves chasing things we believe others think we should want, we might find that there is little pleasure in the achievement of them.
Sometimes it is worth taking a moment to ponder over which part of ourselves a particular desire would satisfy. Whether it is something we want because we have been 'programmed' to want it, or whether it is a need that will fulfil our deepest authentic selves.
Posted 1st May 2012
As both a writer and a psychotherapist, I have been fascinated to find just how much art and life resemble one another. The classic progression of any story involves the ‘hero’, or protagonist facing challenges, and either overcoming them or being overwhelmed by them. The Harry Potter series demonstrates this clearly, but if you look at any book, film or television programme you will see a similar pattern, although it may not seem so obvious.
How misguided of us then, to imagine that life will be free of any challenges or obstacles. It seldom is, and any calm times that we may experience are usually very temporary. Just like the hero in a story, we encounter testing situations that put pressure on us to grow in order to be able to overcome them. For example, many people are being affected by the recession. Do we batten down the hatches and feel afraid? Or do we use the skill and strength we have to meet our challenges, and learn what we can from entering into the adventure?
The way we respond to difficult situations can tell us a lot about the person we are, and who we want to become. Literature and drama are daily sources of guidance that help us make choices about the unfolding of the ‘stories’ that create our own experience of living.
Posted 25th April 2012