Psychotherapeutic supervision is essential for psychology students who are practicing, just as it is in the first steps of many other professionals. The function of this supervision is that the mistakes that the professional who begins with his lack of experience may be corrected before they have consequences. On the other hand, it puts a more gradual approach and very valuable support in positions where the responsibility is very great for the consequences that an error can have.
It is a part of the process that is essential in psychotherapeutic training. As we have said before, it is highly recommended in novices, which does not mean that experts can not benefit from it. Although, although experience helps to be a better professional, it does not exempt us from requiring psychotherapeutic supervision in some cases.
We will talk about psychotherapeutic supervision throughout this text. Thus, step by step we will discover what it means, and what is its importance in students and professionals. In addition, we will talk about the benefits of having supervision in the psychological field in different environments. Let’s start!
Psychotherapeutic supervision, how does it work?
Psychotherapeutic supervision consists of the presence of an expert professional who has the ability to assess the course of the therapy and the behavior of the supervisee in his professional activity. Then, the supervisor makes a constant examination as to the interventions or not performed by the therapist, for this it includes the exploration of aspects of the inner world of the subject that he supervises. Thus, he explores his cognition, his behavior and his affective part.
From a psychoanalytic perspective (branch of psychology in which supervision has great weight), during the intervention about the therapy performed by the subject, the supervisor:
- Analyze the content of the session.
- Evaluate the transfer and countertransference.
- Explore the strategies used by the therapist.
- Orientates the therapist in terms of practical and theoretical content.
- Acts as support and structure.
- Listen and watch actively.
- Encourages the supervised.
- Explore the supervised hypothesis and challenge them.
- It promotes learning.
However, this process can occur both in students and professionals. Let’s see:
Supervision is worked as part of the training, so that the person learns how to perform psychotherapy. To do this, the supervisor decides when it is appropriate for the student to start doing it. In addition, if necessary, it intervenes. To prevent the consequences of possible errors, students are provided with lower risk cases, both for the patient and for the student. Thus, the supervisor may give more margin to the supervisor without intervening.
Supervision can take different forms:
On-line. With the new technologies there are big changes that can translate into benefits. In this case through tools, for example, Skype, therapeutic supervision can be performed.
Presented in the Gesell Chamber. It is a resource that is used in psychology so that other people can observe an intervention without its presence conditioning it. In the room or chamber of Gesell there will be a mirror that will be opaque on one side and transparent on the other, so that the supervisor can see what the therapist does without participating in a face-to-face manner in the intervention.
Face-to-face after having made an intervention. The supervisor tells what happened and the supervisor carries out his work.
Professionals can use supervision to grow their work. For example, to understand what happens in therapy, when they do not feel comfortable, when they do not know what to do, etc. This allows them to see their intervention from another perspective and know what steps to take.
In addition, some specialties require it, for example psychoanalysis. In fact, in this area it is suggested that the future psychoanalyst has been psychoanalyzed, and within his analysis he can talk about the residual product left in the analyst derived from the interventions he performs.
Benefits of having psychotherapeutic supervision
Therapeutic supervision brings great benefits. Let’s see some of them:
- Encourage the analysis.
- Facilitates the process that lives the patient.
- Integration of knowledge
- It contributes to the work of the professional.
- Have a point of reference.
- The psychotherapeutic practice is enriched.
- Different points of view.
- It encourages self-care.
- Release of tensions.
- Empathy is increased.
- The patient and the therapist are protected.
- Review of concepts.
- It favors experiential learning.
Now, a certain controversy revolves around supervision. This is what Dr. Héctor Fernández Álvarez suggests in his article. This author comments that “the results presented by the research do not reach until now, to prove empirically that supervision, as it has been used up to now, helps to increase the benefits of psychotherapy.” However, many of the areas dedicated to psychotherapy have not participated in these investigations, and this does not cancel out the subjective sensation that people who undergo supervision can count on.
On the other hand, highlight that supervision is an active process in which knowledge is built. This process favors the supervised, the learning, and the supervisor, because it is in constant training to provide an adequate review.
How to find supervision?
If it is a student, possibly in the branch of their studies there is someone responsible for performing this role. If you are a professional, you can contact colleagues who have experience. You can even look for online supervision; There are different professionals that offer it.