ISST Certified Individual and Group Schema Therapy Supervision
I qualified as an ISST Certified Schema Therapy Supervisor in 2014 and have supervised multiple practitioners in both Individual and Group Schema Therapy since then. I’ve supervised schema therapists from a broad range of NHS mental health settings, including Psychiatric Inpatient Services, Forensic Services, Crisis Services, Community Mental Health Services, Primary Care Services and allied Voluntary Sector providers. I supervise practitioners with a broad range of experience, from trainees and novice practitioners to senior practitioners who are highly qualified and experienced.
Over the years I have helped professionals from many disciplines to develop the knowledge and skills needed to practise Schema Therapy, including:
- Clinical & Forensic Psychologists
- Consultant Psychiatrists
- Community Psychiatric Nurses
- Social workers
- Occupational therapists
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapists
My supervisees include Schema Therapists working in England, Scotland, Eastern Europe and Australia.
Whilst providing Schema Therapy can be enormously rewarding, it may also be challenging on both a professional and personal basis. As therapists, we often come into contact with people often when they’re at their most distressed, agitated or challenging. We often bear witness to experiences of deprivation, cruelty and abuse, and may find ourselves in the midst of our clients’ existential crises. Perhaps they have been going round in circles for years, and seek our help to get them ‘unstuck’. Supervision is essential for helping to sustain and restore us through such emotionally challenging work.
Becoming a competent and effective practitioner of Schema Therapy often requires us to face up to important aspects of who we are and how we cope with interactions. To be most effective, we must allow ourselves to develop a genuine emotional connection with our clients’ experience.
Effective supervision is founded on feeling safe with our supervisor. This is crucial if we are to acknowledge our own struggles, to explore our dilemmas, navigate our doubts and overcome our crises of confidence. The work may evoke our own distress, and requires us to recognise our own schemas and modes at play. We may need encouragement to be emotionally open, to follow our instincts, test out our hypotheses and take calculated risks. We need to know we can be imperfect and be allowed ‘not to know’. We must trust that our supervisor will confront us with empathy, should it be needed, and encourage us to recognise our limits.
As a supervisor, I enjoy helping my supervisees to deepen their understanding of how Schema Therapy may transform both their clients’ and their own lives. I strive to provide a safe space to explore and overcome any anxieties about working with our complex and powerful therapeutic model. It is my privilege to share my supervisees’ therapeutic journeys with their clients, and to witness their development and growth.
I am supervised in my supervision and therapy by Dr Susan Simpson, a most cherished colleague and leading proponent of Schema Therapy.