My interview with Robin Shohet

Yesterday I had the opportunity to chat with Robin Shohet  and discussed with him consultative supervision, how he understands appreciative enquiry and the nature of personal therapy and clinical supervision.

Robin’s publications in the field of psychotherapy include the hugely influential book Supervision in the Helping Professions, which he co-authored with Professor Peter Hawkins, first published in 1989. In 2007 he edited Passionate Supervision and Supervision as Transformation in 2011. More recently he co-edited Clinical Supervision in the Medical Profession with Dr David Owen, and contributed a chapter on resistance.

Robin mentioned a couple of links in the interview, one being Zoe Cohen and shame in supervision and Benjamin Zander on the Art of Possibility.

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Group Supervision

I have now had my first group supervision session for my drop in centre.  It was an amazing experience to be amongst about 18 trainees bringing all sorts of issues to group discussion.  Confidentiality of client issues at drop in centres is usually within the context of the organisational framework and thus at group supervision you will hear  all sorts of presenting issues from drop in clients (counsellors maintain their own notes for their contracted clients who they might see at the centre).  I was struck by the dynamic in the room and of the incredible morale in the group.  Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud.  Some trainees (in the 4th year) were having their last session that day and it was encouraging to hear their tribute to the group and the feedback they received from others.  They provided a very telling testimonial of their time at the centre and the benefit of having a robust group supervision framework in place.

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Seeing the first client on placement

I have now seen my first client.  It is a relief to finally start on the road when hitherto there has been so much theory and triage group work on my course.  I have secured a placement role on the back up roster for a drop in centre in Central London. Clients know that they are seeing trainees so the expectations are set from the start.   However, that doesn’t stop the apprehension leading up to the first session.   Who will turn up?  What happens if suicidal issues are presented.  Will I be asked direct questions or guidance? As it happened I sat there alone for the first hour as no-one showed up.  Then two showed up pretty much at the same time. I needed to remind myself that all one can really do in a drop in centre is to listen.  It is important to remember the privilege of being able to listen.  Perhaps you are the only person in their life who will listen without offering advice or direction.   I am now looking forward to group supervision at the centre which takes place a week on Saturday.

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