“[U]ltimately the care that counselors provide others will only be as good as the care they provide themselves” (American Counseling Association, n.d., para. 9)
I see supervision as offering varying levels of support and teaching. Its an exploratory, reflective activity and collaborative relationship. More than being a professional and ethical requirement, its an opportunity for personal and professional growth and (self-)reflection. Its about offering care/support to the therapist as they offer care/support to their clients. Many of the processes of supervision mirror that of therapy. In both of these fields, I remain committed to taking a relational approach.
Supervision offers a therapist-supervisee precious opportunity to be held, supported and challenged by a supervisor who collaboratively adapts their responses to what is needed. The supervisor has a role to play to be present and model human, relational responses and also to show a reflexive awareness of potential power dynamics.
As a supervisor, I offer both clinical supervision and academic mentoring. While I have supervised, mentored, and trained therapists across different contexts for over four decades, these days I tend to work mainly with qualified counsellors/psychotherapists.
At the moment, my practice is full and I am not accepting any new supervisees. I can, however, recommend other supervisors who may be able to help.
I offer a space (in-person or online) to support counsellors/psychotherapists in their work, encouraging reflection on any issue concerning clinical practice. Therapy, CPD, peer supervision and clinical supervision – all offer precious moments to be witnessed, held and supported (Finlay, 2019).
All therapists need supervision to grow professionally. More than needing time to explore theory and skill development, supervision also requires a commitment to try to be reflexive (self-aware) about therapeutic process. For one thing, a supervisor can help remind us about the need for self-care and/or help us recognise how problematic ruptures or stuckness in therapy may be rooted in the relational process rather than our own inadequacy. I believe that supervision is part of the self-care we need to engage to enable us to be more self-compassionate and for our own self-regulation. Given our human vulnerability, it is an ethical imperative and professional priority to be reflexive about our relational processes and make active use of supportive opportunities.
Therapy, supervision and CPD (continuing professional development) – all offer precious moments to be witnessed, held, and healed ourselves (Finlay, 2019). Just as we work hard with clients to tailor treatments to their specific needs, we should do the same for ourselves. And once we learn to manage our woundedness, we will be able to better connect and “provide the balm of compassion and understanding to others who have sustained emotional wounds” (Sussman, 1995, p.24).
My primary theoretical framework is humanistic and relational-centred and I combine existential phenomenological understandings with gestalt and transactional analytic approaches. My style and focus is relational. In addition to considering the client’s own process, I encourage exploration of relational dynamics (both in the therapy and regarding any parallel process in supervision) and whatever may be arising at a personal level which impacts on the therapy. However, my starting point is to consider your own model of working and I invite you to bring issues or cases to explore. I appreciate the fact that supervision can sometimes feel quite shaming, and I would encourage you to be open also to celebrating your successes.
I believe in a relational focus that is attentively respectful to all relationships in the field including with the client (and their relational-social network), the therapist (and their relational-social network), the client-therapist relationship, the supervisor (and their relational-social network) and the therapist-supervisor relationship. Relational processes and (conscious or unconscious) dynamics between client and therapist can be mirrored/paralleled in processes between therapist and supervisor.
I follow the guidelines laid down by the UKCP for supervision (https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/media/q1if2314/ukcp-supervision-statement-2018.pdf). I aim to be a conscientiously ethical practitioner and I adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice of UKCP (www.ukcp.org.uk). I have regular professional supervision of my work and I am covered by professional indemnity insurance.
A reflection: In my work as a supervisor, one of the most common ‘mistakes’ I see is when a therapist works too hard, is over-protective and/or tries to be too helpful. It is then important to explore what is going on. Why has the ‘Rescuer’ in the therapist been activated? It’s likely that any rescuing is done out of a genuine desire to help but there is probably more going on . . . Perhaps the answer lies in the therapist’s own wounded history? It’s also possible that the source of any rescuing is located in the therapist–client relationship. For example, might the client be replaying – re-enacting – some ‘drama triangle’ dynamics? Once therapist and supervisor have some to a deeper (and more compassionate) understanding of what may be going on, appropriate steps can be taken. The point is to note the value of processing what's going on rather than getting caught up in the shame of having made a so-called 'mistake'. (Finlay, 2021 Forthcoming)
While I no longer offer ongoing formal academic supervision, I do offer individuals one-off mentoring sessions, for example, to advise on the writing of a doctoral thesis or to offer budding authors advice and support for their academic writing projects. I have a particular interest in qualitative research and writing – specifically reflexive and/or phenomenological research and how research might be applied to psychotherapy.
I am also open to helping institutions develop relevant packages for training, support, and mentorship on topics related to psychotherapy, reflexivity, research process and writing.
For further information about my academic mentoring work please see my Academic Consultancy page. Also see this YouTube video about turning research into an published article: transforming research into article and this one on how to disseminate your research disseminating your research.
In addition to my post-graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy, I have a post-graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling Supervision awarded by the European Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies which is approved by the UKCP. Also, my experience of research supervision and the teaching I have done on various degree programmes over the last 40 years, plus my work with the Open University (including my doctorate), gives me a solid understanding of academic procedures and processes.
My fees are negotiated with individuals (and/or institutions) depending on the nature of work required. I currently charge around £80.00 per hour for individual work but I also offer concessionary rates. Fees are usually paid at the end of each session via BACS (bank transfer) or in response to an invoice.
American Counseling Association (ACA) (n.d.) Taskforce on Counselor Wellness and Impairment.
Finlay, L. (2019) Practical Ethics in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Relational Approach. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Finlay, L. (2022) The Therapeutic use of Self in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Sussman, M.B. (1995) Intimations of mortality, in M.B. Sussman (ed.), A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice. New York: John Wiley. pp. 15–25.
I take data protection and confidentiality seriously. If you contact me by email, I will hold onto your data only while processing your communication. I will not copy, share or use your personal information without your consent. Once you have signed a contract to begin therapy, then please note that personal data and brief notes related to our psychotherapy work are collected. These notes are stored safely and securely. You can have an electronic copy at any point upon request. Our email communications will be deleted after we are no longer working together.