Explorations in the Theory and Practice 
of Massage Therapy and Bodywork 

Home ] Buy Books ] Business ] Marketing ] Building Your Web Presence ] Insurance Billing ] Ethics ] Pathology ] Deep Tissue ] Aromatherapy Massage ] Swedish Massage ] Pregnancy Massage ] Hydrotherapy ] Professional Associations ] Laws and Regulations ] History of Massage ] Triggerpoint Therapy ] Sports Massage ] Psychology ] Mentoring ] Self Care ] Supervision ] Peer Groups ] Massage Techniques ] Anatomy and Kinesiology ] Meridians ] Clinical Massage ] Finding  Massage Therapists ] Site Search ] Site Map ] Purchase Manuals ] About this Site ] Free Newsletter ] Contact ]

Get Engaged! Participate in your profession!
 Bulletin Board     Newsletter      Blog   

Supervision Defined

Supervision as defined by Webster is to oversee, direct or manage.  The term supervision makes me think of a supervisor in a business setting who just sits back and tells me what to do.

The type of supervision I am talking about comes from other medical professions such as  psychology, social work and nursing.  The goal of supervision is to increase awareness and on-going self awareness of the therapist.  Supervision is all about the therapist and whatever they need to become what they want to be!   The more support we can get as therapists, the more support we can give to clients.

Supervisors are usually senior massage therapists  who specialize in working with issues related to the therapeutic relationship that occurs in our practices.  This is done through listening to how the therapist feels about whatever is going on in their practice.  It does not mean that the supervisor is going to tell you what to do!!  The goal of supervision is to have the supervisor mirror what is going on in the therapist with the intent of having the therapist learn for themselves what it is they need to do in their practice.  This is done through the process of active listening.   During the process, the therapist may ask for the supervisors opinion knowing that is just that -their opinion.  

Individual supervision is a one-on-one relationship where the therapist hires a supervisor.  A commitment to meeting regularly is needed to build the relationship and work to find the core issues that the therapist is struggling with.  Some common issues to work on are boundaries, transference and counter-transference, projections and specific details of practice. Working on an individual basis, the therapist gets the exclusive attention of the supervisor.

Peer supervision (peer group) is a group of peers meeting to share their experiences.  This again is not to "fix" the problem, but to share the underlying feelings that arise in practice.  Active listening is practiced.  The group may also be used for networking and talking about business building ideas, but time on this should be limited.  Often groups will invite a supervisor in at times to provide direction, clarity and support.  Groups can be all massage therapists or include other disciplines.
Working in a group will give you the feedback of others.  Sometimes you may not have time to talk about your process if someone has a difficult issue.  We learn about ourselves from the processes of others.  Group dynamics may be difficult to manage and balance.  A complete manual and support system for starting and building a peer supervision group is available with a membership to www.massagepracticebuilder.com (my sister site).

Group supervision is a group of peers meeting with a supervisor to discuss their feelings about the therapeutic relationship.  

Supervision is the next step in building the massage profession.  I wish we had a better word to describe what it is and what it does.  Massage therapists are such individualists that the term may scare some off, thinking that the supervisor is going to tell them what to do! Massage therapists are also often isolated in their practices that it becomes difficult for them to view what is happening in their practice.

Some definitions of supervision:

'A formal process of professional support and learning which enables individual practitioners to develop knowledge and competence, assume responsibility for their own practice and enhance consumer protection and safety of care in complex clinical situations. It is central to the process of learning and to the scope of the expansion of practice and should be seen as a means of encouraging self-assessment and analytical and reflective skills' (Vision for the future 1993). ]

Butterworth & Faugier (1992) said supervision refers to a range of strategies, including: 'preceptorship, mentorship, supervision of qualified practice, peer review and the maintenance of identified professional standards' and was: 'both a personal and professional experience'.

Swain (1995) differentiates supervision in contrast to more well-known procedures: '(supervision is)…not psychotherapy or counseling…nor is it directive management, individual performance review or staff appraisal. It is not a form of disciplinary procedure…it is not any of those things which some nurses seem to fear it might be or could be used for'.







© 1999-2005 www.thebodyworker.com (copyright info and disclaimer)Link Exchange
Visit my other sites: www.themassage-directory.com  www.massagetherapycareers.com       www.massagepracticebuilder.com

About Me                Contact Me