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Are you a therapist or health professional who has been diagnosed or treated for a chronic or life-threatening illness?

Are you a therapist or a supervisor of a practitioner who has a chronic or life-threatening illness?

If so, then it is likely you will know just how frightening and debilitating this can be. Diagnosis and treatment disrupt our sense of self and practice while creating much uncertainty. Clinically and ethically there are many considerations to be made, and many of these depend upon our sense and use of self as our primary tool of trade in the therapeutic relationship. The literature often talks about therapist impairment, creating stigma rather than promoting help. Therapist impairment is not the whole story, and many therapists are better therapists because of their illness experiences. This makes supervision in such circumstances all the more important.

I am one of the few people in the world to have conducted research about psychotherapists’ sense and use of self when they experience a life-threatening illness. My focus was quite specific and found a difference with the main discussion in scholarly literature. At the time of publishing my thesis in 2017, my results were unique, thus providing a valuable contribution to the profession.

Why did I research therapists’ sense and use of self when they become seriously ill? I didn’t choose this topic to conduct my research. It chose me. The price of entry was my cardiac health. Fortunately, I am now medically fit and it is over 14 years since experiencing the worst of my challenges. However, the legacy on my sense and use of self has been profound. I have made sense of my illness and therapeutic work in a way that differs from before my health challenges, learned life-lessons and found benefits from my troubles, and ultimately developed different personal qualities to my earlier life. I carry these qualities into my work with both clients and supervisees.

If you are unwell, supervision can help you to:

  • Increase your personal and professional awareness about living with a life-threatening or chronic illness
  • Become aware of and manage your emotional, cognitive and behavioural responses
  • Work with the subtle way denial can both help us and get in the way of our work
  • Help us to identify, name and manage the physical and symbolic losses that disrupt our practice
  • Explore your clinical work with clients
  • Explore the ethical dilemmas that may arise during illness, treatment and return to work
  • Consider how living with the uncertainty of illness may lead to learning life lessons, or change your personal qualities in ways that improve your work with clients.

Getting started with supervision

  • I am available for both online and face to face supervision.
  • I work with a wide range of health professionals
  • Initially it can help to have a conversation by phone about your perceived supervision needs.
  • Some of the things we will talk about include your goals and wishes for supervision in the context of your illness experience, your philosophy and experience of supervision, likes and dislikes, what helps you to learn, the difference between supervision and therapy, your qualifications, insurance, ethical frameworks and any requirements towards your professional memberships, any expectations from your employer or the system you work within, together with practical matters about how and when we will meet, and over what time frame.
  • My aim however is to be gently supportive and help you explore your practice with clients.
  • You can call on 0412 518 024 or if you prefer, you could contact me by email through my contact details here.