Supervision is a vital ingredient for anyone working in the caring professions, indeed over the last 30 years supervision has become a central part of the repertoire for most of the caring professions.
We have seen Supervision become a central force in the areas of Counselling, Nursing, Police, Osteopathy, Psychotherapy, Probation officers, 0ccupational therapists and Social workers.
My thesis is that Supervision is a pre-requisite for the development of reflexology as a caring profession in the 21st century.
What then is Supervision? And why is it so necessary?
Supervision in itself is a place where the Reflexologist can really bring themselves and their patients cases for reflection, consideration, and support in the quest for informing their skills in the service of the wellbeing of their clients.
Supervision should be a safe, secure place where the Reflexologist can, if they wish, share all their frustrations, anxieties and victories with another seasoned professional who will be part of a non-judgmental and confidential relationship.
There are many tasks for the Reflexology Supervisor which I have outlined below.
Firstly, and most importantly the Supervisory relationship will have as a central tenant the concept of Confidentiality. This will mean that the Reflexologist can bring their cases to discuss, to reflect on, in an arena of safety and security.
Secondly, it is the task of the supervisor to act as an Educator and Mentor where they will be able to pass on and inform the Reflexologist of new models and techniques that are pertinent to their profession. Of course they will also be able to share and discuss their own methodology and practice.
Thirdly, the arena of Supervision will provide a Reflective space for any anxieties, doubts and uncertainties that the supervisee may want to consider an reflect on with an experienced other professional.
Fourthly, one of the important tasks for any Supervisor is the Gate-keeping function. This is where the Supervisor will keep abreast and monitor the administrative, ethical, and numerous latest organisational developments that might affect and be important to the supervisee in and ever increasing complex and busy world.
Often we “don’t know” what we “don’t know”, we might need some information piece or some latest documentation which we were not aware of or even existed in the first place.
Fifthly, the final task for a Supervisor to bear in mind is to provide a “counselling” role.
This does not mean in depth counselling, this simply means there might arise within the supervisory relationship the need for the supervisor to give some “on the spot” counselling, in terms of decreasing anxiety so that the supervisee will be more grounded to aid case consultation.
The above are some of the tasks I see for the supervisor within the Supervisory relationship.
Perhaps one of the central questions is who can supervise and what are the necessary qualifications for that position?
Due to the infancy of Supervision in the Reflexology field, there is at present a scarcity of supervisors, if any!
What I propose is that experience Reflexologists in the organisation, who may wish to be Supervisors, and who may wish to pass on their wisdom and experience, attend the increasing number of short and longer courses which are now becoming available to them in the area of supervision, this then will result in a greater supply of Supervisors in the medium term.
At present we have an “Apprentice” style of mentoring in the reflexology field. This is where the “Elders” of the community who are more experienced through time and continuity give “informal” Supervision. Their only qualification is that they have done the job of a successful Reflexologist down the years.
This is fine in many ways, though what I propose now as we face up to the professionalization of the reflexology world is to make “Supervision” a discipline in its own rights in the service of developing and providing a more professional Reflexologist for the modern world.
Bob Cooke 2010