Cathie O'Brien  

  Gestalt Psychotherapy, OD Consultancy, Supervision, Coaching, and Training 


Supervision/Reflective Practice

 Clinical Supervision: Individuals, Groups and Organisations

I hold a Diploma in Supervision and UKCP Registration as an Approved Supervisor. I also hold a Post Grad Diploma in Relational Organisational Gestalt (Organisational Consultancy). I have vast experience working in a supervisory and consultancy role during my work in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service - NHS), the private sector and in private practice and I supervise both child and adult therapists. I work with individual supervisee's, therapeutic teams, organisations and multi-agency teams. This includes Therapists, Social Workers, Foster carer's, Residential Workers, Teachers and Management teams.

Whether I am working with teams or individuals, I work at both an implicit and explicit level. My style is relational, which means  that i work with the unaware aspects of clinical work, for instance the parallel process, transference and the wider system. I also consider what is happening in the here and now between supervisee/supervisee's and myself - what information does this hold for us and how do we work with this? Bringing the implicit into the explicit, developing greater clarity around working relationships, clinical work and the next steps if required. 

My intention is to develop a supportive and collegiate environment for supervisee's to bring all aspects of their work and I recognise the importance of building an open and honest  relationship for this to occur safely and usefully. I use Chidiac and Denham- Vaughan's Gestalt SOS model (self, other and the situation), Shoet and Hawkins seven eyed model and Pistole and Watkins attachment model, as a framework for my supervision practice. These models form the background to my work not a prescribed mode of working. My style is emergent, fluid and process orientated drawing upon different schools of therapy including Gestalt, Attachment, Trauma and the Neurosciences. 

 Supervision of supervision

I also work with experienced supervisors supervising their work with individuals, groups and organisations as well as working with Organisational Practitioners, Directors and Managers.

Reflective Practice - an attachment and trauma informed framework in organisations:

Reflective practice is not the same as clinical supervision, which is usually undertaken by qualified or trainee therapists. Clinical supervision is usually more focused on individual clients and involves discussing each client in turn considering interventions to support the individual need; this is an important process for professional learning and development and for creating interventions that can support clients.   However, in some cases there can be less focus on personal awareness, the structure of the situation/organisation/wider system and when working with organisations, on the needs of the team, the team dynamics and the interrelations between service users or their relations outside of that setting- which can all impact the service and service users. This is better suited to individual professionals working with individual clients. The contexts are considered but the focus is usually intervention and not necessarily on personal awareness/development, the organisational impact on clients or the wider systems impact on the whole situation. 

Reflective practice works well with organisations who work with vulnerable people and encourages self reflection, responsibility and exploration of the wider system involving self, others and the situation. Teams can consider patterns and triggers, parallel processes, organisational/team dynamics and the team structures that may impact behaviours, as well as thinking around the service users needs i.e. what they maybe communicating and what they may evoke in professionals (transference, projection). Through this process organisations can experiment with small changes in themselves and the environment/relationships which may impact and support clients. This is a multi-systemic approach.

Cathie combines reflective practice with clinical supervision and believes that it is crucial to explore the whole system, as behaviours in the systems often reflect behaviours in the individual. Working with the systems and bringing these dynamics into awareness can dramatically improve the clients behaviours and ability to self-regulate.

Reflective Practice / Supervision can offer a secure base for staff to work within, a safe space to explore feelings in relation to working with extremely distressed service users, a place to reflect on practice and develop plans were necessary.

Reflective Practice/supervision also focuses on self, other and the situation, as well as teamwork and team development - a whole service approach. When working from a whole service perspective, reflective practice/ supervision aims to develop consistency in practice, across the board, reinforcing the training undertaken.