How supervisee self-care is addressed in the clinical supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists: A qualitative exploration
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AbstractThis research explored how supervisee self-care is, or isn't, addressed in clinical supervision, using a sequential qualitative method. The aims of the study were to analyse the process and dialogue used: to explore supervisee and supervisor understanding; how addressing supervisee self-care can be enhanced or maintained and how this can be implemented into training and practice. Both self-care and clinical supervision are ethical requirements. Counsellors and psychotherapists are not immune to personal stress and work-related well-being impairment. Clinical supervision can form part of a self-care strategy. Few studies have focussed explicitly on the combination of the topics. Few studies in counselling and psychotherapy have used a mixed sequential qualitative approach to investigate an aspect of clinical supervision. Four supervisory dyads were recruited. The study consists of three stages. Stage one required audio recordings of three consecutive clinical supervisions from each dyad, resulting in twelve supervision sessions. A discourse analysis, using a Discursive Psychology lens, was used to analyse extracts from the sessions where instances of supervisee self-care were observed. The discourse shows that there are discursive elements that enable, or limit, discourse on self-care. Stage two involved interviewing the supervisors from the dyad. Supervisees were interviewed in stage three. The data from the semi-structured interviews was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Superordinate themes for the supervisors were 'I am here', 'Where are you?' and 'We're the instruments'. Superordinate themes for the supervisees were 'Me, myself and I' and 'You and I'. The findings indicate that there is an interplay between experience, understanding and discourse. Issues around supervisee self-awareness, evaluations of self-care, the supervisory relationship, and early experiences of supervision impact on how selfcare issues are introduced and subsequently explored. Disclosure of self-care issues can be framed in tentative, or hesitant, language, which can link to the supervisees understanding of how acceptable self-care topics are in supervision. There can be a negative emotional response to disclosing self-care or feeling under scrutiny from the supervisor. Metaphor can assist with self-care disclosure. Supervisors can influence self-care exploration through demonstrating a shared understanding of a self-care issue. Laughter and dialogue that shifts the focus can limit addressing self-care. The study offers a means of transferring the results into practice: encouraging engaging in a discussion that explores the influential factors on addressing self-care in supervision. The findings of this study are transferrable rather than generalisable. There are implications for practice and training. Limitations of the study and areas for future research are identified.
CitationSeabrook, M. (2021). How supervisee self-care is addressed in the clinical supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists: A qualitative exploration [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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