clinical supervision is an experiential process in which staff are guided and assisted to reflect on their feelings and to gain insight into the hostile projections and splitting which are present in the community
Management and psychotherapy supervision are provided for all staff both in individual and group settings.
Management supervision provides a forum for overseeing work, giving advice and helping staff develop a solid business sense.
Clinical supervision helps staff to understand the relationship between events in the community and in groups, and the unconscious processes involved in clinical work, particularly projective identification, which is one of the main languages of a therapeutic community.
Supervision also helps staff to develop an open, questioning attitude and respect for clients' experiences. This enables staff to form meaningful therapeutic relationships with clients and to deal with the inevitable stress that comes from working in a context in which their professional identity may not always be clearly defined.
Supervision – its purpose, structure, and frequency
Staff supervision takes place in daily pre and post groups, and in 1-hour weekly sessions. It is normally either the manager or deputy manager who supervises the staff, but where there is an experienced senior therapist he/she may also act as a supervisor to junior staff and/or students. Supervisors have a very important role in the community. Namely to act as guides, mentors and tutors to junior staff.
The regularity of these sessions is important as it provides the continuity of a reflective space in which the staff member can step outside the work, and think through what has been happening in the community. Working in a therapeutic community is, in itself, a form of experiential learning and supervision is the primary space set aside for making sense of that experience.
Supervision has two distinct functions: (1) management supervisions, which allows the manager to check that the administrative procedures are being followed correctly (e.g. report writing, petty cash, medication, referrals); and (2) clinical supervision, in which the manager helps the staff member to think about relationships between the dynamic of the community as a whole and individuals or small groups; the meaning of the staff member’s feelings and attitudes in relation to the community or individual clients; and connecting TC and psychotherapy theory with practice.
In practice clinical supervision is likely to oscillate between discussions of the community as a whole, of individual clients, and of the staff member’s responses.
There is an expectation that during the first year, all staff will have started their own analysis/psychotherapy as this is fundamental experience in the training of psychotherapists.