Frameworks from various psycho-therapeutic orientations and professions can be integrated into this model’s broad context. Supervisee developmental stage (m. 4) is catered for as, with experience, progress from lower to higher levels is enabled, in response to their pressing concerns. Identification of supervisee strengths is facilitated, encouraging positive feedback and affirmation, conducive to the supervisee’s willingness to divulge both negative and positive aspects of their work and their commitment to continued development.
Practice characteristics requiring attention are identified, thereby providing a focus for the supervisor’s interventions to encourage improvement and growth (m. 4). This guide is useful as it raises awareness of all pertinent levels. Other frameworks inherently place disproportionate emphases on certain modes with some completely ignored. This model promotes balanced supervision as each mode is weighted equally over time. The implied hierarchy relates to the supervisor’s responsibility to attend to all levels.
The supervisee provides the client’s primary care, but protection of rights and well-being is ultimately the supervisor’s responsibility (Helsel, 2012). This hierarchical responsibility is explicit (Hawkins and Shohet, 2002). To ensure quality care, the supervisee (m. 4) acknowledges the importance of on-going enhancement of professional knowledge and competencies (Carroll & Gilbert, 2011). Reviewing the supervisee’s application of theory, by exploring techniques utilised (m. 2), is one of the supervisor’s responsibilities to support the supervisee’s professional development ((Helsel, 2012).
Obtaining consent and ensuring confidentiality of personal information (consent documents, case notes and recordings) is mandatory (Helsel, 2012). To ensure transparency, an awareness of how the process functions and informed consent is necessary (Helsel, 2012). With the assurance of confidentiality, trust and enhancement of both therapeutic relationships may follow. Within the broader work context (m. 7), it should also be established to whom the supervisor reports regarding the supervisee’s capabilities (Carroll & Gilbert, 2011).
Appropriate supervision documentation can facilitate professional growth and development of both supervisee and supervisor (Helsel, 2012). Aspects to be included are: client status and progress (m. 1), supervisee interventions (m. 2) and supervisor input and guidance (m. 5, 6). The focus on organisational requirements (m. 7) and potential legal demands is addressed. Maintaining professional boundaries to avoid dual-relationships, conflicts of interest and subsequent exploitation of client trust is mandatory (Nichols, 2011).
Any relationship that diminishes the practitioner’s ability to remain objective, exercise good judgement and avoid bias is deemed inappropriate (Helsel, 2012). This is addressed in the organisational context (m. 7), with implications for the supervisee-client (m. 3) and supervisee-supervisor (m. 5) relationships. Axten (2012) portrays these relationships as covenantal which implies a fundamental pursuit of respectful and trusting beneficence. The obligation to ensure quality care has several implications.
Firstly, practitioners should offer services within the boundaries of their competence (m. 4 &6). If enhanced understanding of factors including cultural or socio-economic (m. 7) is required, additional training or supervision should be sought (m. 4 &6) or appropriate referrals made (Nichols, 2011). If professional duties are impacted by personal issues, professional assistance may facilitate resolution or termination of services maybe necessary. This model explicitly and comprehensively highlights the ethical considerations of supervision.
These can all be addressed within process-oriented supervision (PS) but the definitive guide that the 7-eyed model provides is absent. Essentially, PS focuses on raising the supervisee’s awareness of their experiences and conceptualisations of the client and their issues, which are used to promote new personal insights, which enhance therapeutic skills (Richardson & Hands, 2012). A number of skills are used in this process. Initially, the supervisee’s awareness of the client’s process is raised to encourage exploration of identities and roles played by each and the skills involved. Richardson, 2012) Strategies, including role-playing the absent client, allow replication of a parallel process, which facilitates emergence of client-supervisee dynamics, which can be subsequently explored. The individual’s acknowledged identity, the primary process, is explored for both client and supervisee. Identifying which channels the supervisee predominantly uses provides additional clues, as stuckness is generally resolved in under-utilised channels (Goodbread, 1997).
The identity distanced from the individual’s awareness is the secondary process and is separated from the primary by an edge (Diamond & Jones, 2004). This interrupts the flow of therapy due to the tension between release and change and manifests as atypical reactions. Exploration of all these will enhance the supervisee’s awareness, allowing new insights to emerge, which can be utilised to inform therapeutic skill, with possible replication and flow-on effects for the client. The supervisor’s role is to establish a positive feedback loop, connecting and reinforcing these elements.
Richardson and Hands (2012) summarise this as: “The use of process-oriented supervision skills highlights a holographic meta-analysis where the sum of the parts is not only greater than the whole, but the parts and the totality of the whole contribute to further replication in other levels and systems”. (P 179) In the PS session witnessed, from within the supervisee’s story, a parallel process emerged. The client’s softer, nicer and more vulnerable process contrasted with a secondary process of strength and dominance and was mirrored in the supervisee.
The tension and discomfort that existed between these, the edge, constituted the focus that was brought to supervision. Replicating the parallel process, enabled clarification as the supervisee had initially struggled to define her issue. The raising of the supervisee’s awareness enabled new insights to be generated which were used to inform her future approach. The feedback loop with new found skills was established. The overall approach was highly valued by the supervisee. Additional resources and strengths were revealed despite the non-attendance to goaling, exceptions, and coping strategies.
Freshly acquired insights were relevant to the supervisee, both personally and professionally which enhanced their integration. This denotes another key feature of PS, a departure from other models, as the boundary between professional supervision and personal therapy is considered impossible to define (Richardson & Hands, 2002). The attraction of the seven-eyed model is its applicability across many psychotherapeutic traditions. Social constructionist approaches integrate easily as many of these skills were utilised in the observed session.
These included externalising, identifying exceptions and resources, preferred future descriptions and outside witness. Goaling identified the impact of the supervisee’s workplace anxiety as the focus. Questions exploring the supervisee’s current experience and identity (m. 4) were used. As a domestic violence worker, she regularly works with severely distressed individuals and a possible parallel process with transference of emotions onto the supervisee may have occurred. The supervisee’s unconscious reactions, her counter-transference, were explored with the intention to enhance her ability to respond, instead of merely reacting.
Landscapes of action and meaning questions were utilised here and throughout the session. The focus then shifted to the supervisee’s experience and conceptualisation of the client (m. 1). The therapeutic relationship between supervisee and client (m. 3) was investigated using various techniques including outside witness’ perspective. Approaches and strategies utilised (m. 2) and the client’s responses were explored. These were placed within the wider context of the supervisee’s work (m. 7), using preferred future questions. Mode 5, the supervisory relationship and the supervisor’s own process (m. ), weren’t’ definitively explored, which is understandable as this was an isolated session for academic purposes. The adaptability of the model was evident as the strength-based approach evoked the supervisee’s exceptions and resources. Flexibility allowed unequal attention across modes, which enhanced responsiveness to the supervisee’s needs and collaboration. The opportunity to observe various supervision models has highlighted the importance of remaining open-minded and willing to experiment with alternative techniques and approaches.
To best meet client needs through the supervisee, having a choice of strategies and flexibility in application, will enhance my ability to remain effective and responsive. The seven-eyed model, with its inherent emphasis on relational and systemic aspects, provides a valuable, adaptable scaffold, upon which my approach to supervision will be based. Techniques from many orientations can be incorporated to accommodate supervisee strengths and needs, to ensure supervision is not done to but with the supervisee, which benefits their professional development.
Also, understanding of new information is enhanced when integrated with existing familiar competencies and knowledge (Friedman, 1997). The seven modes provide a broad range of issues, enabling their identification and subsequent address to enhance supervisee development. Modelling multiple-perspective approaches may encourage the supervisee to mirror this in therapy, which may transfer to the client. Viewing issues from alternative perspectives often delivers therapeutic benefits as stuckness may transform into resolution with an accompanying transfer of skills.
This would be conducive to development of the supervisee’s capabilities of reflection and thereby enhance their practice. The seven-eyed model, incorporating narrative and solution-oriented approaches of social constructionism, will be central to my approach. However, despite identification of exceptions, strengths, resources and coping strategies, issue resolution on a deeper, perhaps more personal level may sometimes be sought by the supervisee. PS skills will be utilised for these interventions, for when supervisees struggle to delineate the problem’s essence and may also prove useful in divising complementary solutions.
The approaches of other models encourage alternative conceptualisations of issues and may be utilised to generate the supervisee’s news of difference required and promote flexible cognition. The world’s leading athletes require commitment, flexibility and strength. To become a skilled supervisor, having an extensive, strong theoretical base and grasp of technique, combined with flexibility in applying both and remaining open-minded to alternative approaches, may facilitate this continuous process. Modelling this as supervisor, will hopefully transfer to the supervisee and also inform their practice.