Any position requires training and support for the employees, which they can obtain from more experienced or competent colleagues. Relationships between senior and junior employees aimed at improving performance with elements of training, evaluation, and monitoring are called supervision (Simpson-Southward et al., 2017). In psychotherapy, supervision is designed to maintain a commitment to counseling and clients’ health. Moreover, this process is also usually aimed at the management, education, and development of staff. Despite the importance of adequate supervision, not all experienced employees can provide it, which can harm the work of their developing colleagues.
People during their lives meet various supervisors that guide and teach them – at work, in training projects, and in similar situations. I have gained both pleasant and rather negative experiences earlier. My worst episode does not belong to the current sphere of activity, and I received it as a teenager when I found work for the summer. I desired to be independent early, and during summer break, I decided to earn a little money for my expenses. I found a job as a waiter in a small cafeteria where the manager acted as a supervisor.
On the first day of work, I received a short instruction on my duties – accepting orders, cleaning and serving tables, and receiving payment for services for customers. I showed diligence and enthusiasm since this was my first workplace, and I wanted to be responsible. However, the manager monitoring the work of the waiter and barista already in my first days made strange remarks to me. For example, I needed to independently guess some of the duties that I was not informed about, such as conserving cleaning supplies to save cafe expenses. At the same time, the manager had a bad mood all the time, which (s)he showed to the employees.
The mentioned situations are just a few examples of the oddities I have faced. According to Simpson-Southward et al. (2017), supervisors’ functions are management, training, development, and restorative duties, and the manager has shown only one. This worker focused on management and control but did not perform duties of training and ethical conduct. As a result, an atmosphere of employee suppression arose in this establishment, which led to a significant turnover of personnel. I also quickly left this workplace, as constant unjustified comments and pressure took much strength and self-belief.
Fortunately, I had more pleasant than unpleasant experiences with supervisors after the described situation. Three years ago, I participated in a volunteer program that organized educational projects for low-income children. Project work requires a lot of attention to various details, and it is difficult to understand everything at once. When I started working, a senior volunteer provided me with significant help and support, and I had time to study and gradually gained experience. At the same time, I received the necessary hints in case of my mistakes. A particular advantage of working in the organization was the established policy of openness and friendliness, and therefore the team itself became emotional support. During this work, I received excellent supervision, and for my part, as a supervisee, I tried to be responsible and listen to more experienced colleagues.
Applying my experience to this week’s readings, I highlight several correlating aspects. Firstly, reflecting on the examples, I noted how setting, where a person spends the most time, is essential. During an unpleasant experience, the pressure atmosphere made me feel bad. In the friendly workplace, I was able to show my potential better and was happy with myself. These episodes illustrate that counselors should consider the setting of their work and where customers spend their time. Secondly, examples also relate to the chapter on social justice. In particular, higher status at work and my age could be reasons for the manager in favor of pressure. Counselors, in turn, should advocate for justice and equality and not harm their clients by discriminating against them (Haag Granello & Young, 2019). Finally, my experience shows the significance of ethical behavior and compliance to clear rules. Ethics is especially important when working with mental health, and supervisors should teach and support it.
Supervisors have an essential role in the activities of developing counselors. Their primary responsibility is in training and guidance that they can provide based on their experience to an aspiring specialist. Their monitoring and subsequent advice improve the performance of the counselors. A study by Simpson-Southward et al. (2017) demonstrates that existing supervision models lack consistency and do not consider the impact on customers enough. However, the process affects the quality of the counselors’ work, which implies an improvement or deterioration of the services provided to customers.
Quality supervision is vital for the development of specialists and their future performance. Mistakes and difficulties in the process of work can be repeated if one does not seek help and advice from professionals in time. Supervision contributes to specialists’ learning to work more efficiently and receive the necessary professional support. In the process, counselors have the opportunity to learn to understand customers and themselves better.
Thus, supervision is an essential tool in the work and professional development of counselors. Supervisors perform several critical functions in relationships with their supervisees – monitoring, management, training, ethical behavior, and other actions. Following the presented personal examples, ignoring any of these functions leads to negative consequences in the supervisees’ work. Adequate supervision, in turn, contributes to unleashing the potential and talents and improving performance.
Haag Granello, D. & Young M. E. (2019). Counseling today: Foundations of professional identity (2nd ed.). Pearson.
Simpson-Southward, C., Waller, G., & Hardy, G. E. (2017). How do we know what makes for “best practice” in clinical supervision for psychological therapists? A content analysis of supervisory models and approaches. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(6), 1228–1245. Web.