When first venturing into practice in 1986, away from the robust supervisory support of college, I remember the fears that arose in me as clients arrived with increasingly complex emotional issues.
An early client had survived childhood sexual abuse – the first survivor I’d knowingly encountered. I was both terrified of making life worse for her and awed she trusted me enough to disclose such trauma. As more disclosures came over the years, I realised the need for further input and trained in therapy. Working with Five Element acupuncture, I was, after all, inviting clients to show up emotionally and psychologically as well as physically and I wanted them to receive the best care I could give.
My introduction to mentoring-supervision
A vital part of therapy practice is supervision, and, as I dared to risk honesty in reflecting on one practice, inevitably there was resonance in others. I began supervision for my acupuncture practice in 1990 with Isobel Cosgrove, the acupuncture supervision pioneer, and have never looked back. To know she was there through difficulties in my personal and professional life, including being excluded from joining a practice due to an unhappy former client, was and still is worth its weight in gold.
The issues have evolved, of course, initially receiving help to clarify promotion of my separate practices of acupuncture, counselling and groupwork. These days it could be staying healthy while ageing, enabling clients to face their mortality, and staying relevant in my practice.
My time as a mentor-supervisor
In 2012, I trained in mentoring-supervision myself, wanting to give back to our phenomenal profession. Our original training group still meets five times a year – a tribute to the strength and depth of our training, and to the wisdom and love of its members!
In 2013, I started facilitating my own groups, one of which has evolved through varying shapes, working online during the COVID-19 pandemic when we needed one another’s additional care and support. Another group, which is online-only, works well supporting and caring for each other virtually. We operate shame-free, integrity-full and with radical honesty – values dear to my heart, whatever issues people bring.
Sessions enable you to find your own answers through being witnessed, telling your stories and hearing potential solutions. Most mentor-supervisors offer individual and group sessions, working face-to-face, and/or online, so if you are curious about how the support of mentoring-supervision can add to your practice, please do reach out to any of the mentor-supervisors on the BAcC register.
Debbie Collins MBAcC