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Thank you so much for such an instructive, productive and enjoyable supervision group these past months. I know I am not the only one in our group who feels lucky to have had the experience of working with and learning from you.
In particular, I found the following aspects of our group the most impactful:
1 Thorough explanation and application of theory
Your vast knowledge of theory, and ability to relate it in a readily understandable, tangible way was enormously helpful. You are able to relay complex concepts with ease.
2 Never losing sight of the client
Your seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of theory notwithstanding, you never lost the primary importance of the unique client. In our presentations we were encouraged to present the person and see what theory emerged organically from our understanding of the individual rather than trying to ‘pigeonhole’ the client into our knowledge of theory. This, in my view, is so important, but sometimes gets lost among us trainees who are so keen to get our arms around newly-learned theory that the risk is we lose track of the person.
3 Practical approaches and solutions
You walked us through specific approaches or interventions that helped us when we were feeling stuck or overwhelmed. An early example was the practical suggestions you gave to help me in my early work grounding a traumatised client. Later with this same client, I appreciated the work we did ‘writing my script’ when I was feeling very shaky about a difficult conversation I was going to have to have with her, especially as this was my first time working with a borderline client. You helped me establish firm boundaries, gave me the ‘crutch’ of a clear, strongly worded script and helped me understand that while this approach was difficult for me (as boundaries remain an issue), it was absolutely the right one for both me and my client. This singular experience was one of the most important I’ve had in my training thus far, and the ‘success’ I had following the specific, sound advice you offered has given me new-found confidence to behave similarly in the future. Moreover, I had the opportunity to relay this approach to a client of mine who was similarly struggling with a difficult conversation of her own, so there was an almost immediate positive impact I was able to take from supervision into my own practice.
4 Good modelling of a balanced masculine/feminine
This aspect has more to do with my own personal development, but I have had difficulty in the past getting my own balance ‘right’. Historically I have had a very pronounced, even over-developed, masculine side. My feminine has been neglected, for fear of being ‘weak’. You modelled a feminine that was nurturing, humorous, warm and receptive, while retaining the more ‘masculine’ traits of being active, firm, and analytical/logical. Professionally, this balance (if I am able to achieve it) will also serve me well in terms of holding and containing clients; I hope to create an environment where even when sessions are challenging, they are always safe.
5 Specific recommendations for further reading and learning
You recommended a number of books, talks and practices that were additional to the ‘core’ CCPE curriculum. These were much appreciated, especially where you were pointing us to latest research/findings on certain topics (eg trauma).
Thank you again, Mary-Clare, for creating such a wonderful supervision experience.