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A Different Wisdom: Reflections on Supervision Practice


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About the Author

Penny Henderson is an accredited counsellor, accredited supervisor and fellow of BACP. She has practised as a supervisor for 16 years, and co-designed and presented a supervisor training certificate course. She has been subeditor of the supervision column in the BACP journal for 5 years, and written extensively about supervisory practice issues. She has been an organisational consultant andtrainer in many academic, statutory and voluntary agencies, taught undergraduate and clinical medical students. She has published a number of articles for journals and has contributed to books on counselling, supervision including Counselling Supervision in Contextand A' level textbooks for the National Extension College, Cambridge.


Supervision is first and foremost a practical activity, and this unusual book provides readers with many accounts of practice issues for supervisors, interwoven with references from reflection and research by the leading UK authors and some American research. It follows a timeline from inexperience and beginnings to retirement, exploring practicalities and the juicy realities of personal and professional development. The focus throughout is on what can be learned through careful reflective practice. This requires the practitioner to sustain curiosity and an open mind, to meet supervisees who are different and who come for support, guidance, and commentary on ethical dilemmas. By discussion of professional mistakes it invites readers to notice the impact of human limitations. Consultative supervision is an important relationship for many practitioners, and is increasingly valued by members of other professions such as those allied to medicine, teachers, social workers and managers. This book provides inviting prompts for readers to consider how to integrate personal and professional life to increase resilience in emotionally demanding roles. The author's background in adult and higher education leads her to emphasise the learning that comes through development of practice wisdom in collegial supervisory conversations. Research has emphasised the importance of the relationship for effective supervision. This book combines an interest in creating and sustaining the relationship, with extending the development of the supervisee. It is unique in exploration of the pragmatics of practice, whilst describing the normative roles and tasks inherent in the part of supervisory work that focuses on the protection of the client.'Penny has a gift for combining theory and practice and this book is a prime example of reflective learning. It covers well known and well trodden paths within supervisory writings, such as contracts, ethics and relationships, to less known and less discussed areas in supervision such as vulnerability, retirement and endings, and supervision and bereavement. Above all, the book is a template of how events and experiences turn to learning through open and honest reflection. It's not just a book about how to do supervision - it's a book about how to be and live a supervisory life. It is truly integrative as it combines theory and practice, research and reflection, strength and vulnerability, breadth and depth, story and principle. In her final comments Penny says that her intention in writing was to engage the reader "in the pragmatic and juicy realities of supervision". She does this marvellously well and her easy style, her honest stories, her own learning vulnerability lead to a host of valuable supervisory insights that are truly juicy.'- Michael Carroll PhD, Visiting Industrial Professor, University of Bristol'In a warm and personally revealing style Penny offers illuminating reflections on supervision, often heartfelt and always thoughtful, illustrated with many examples from her practice. The essence of this book lies in the successful balance of authority, which has its foundation in Penny's comprehension of her experience and knowledge of the literature, with her vulnerability as a reflective learner: wisdom indeed.'- Steve Page Co-author of Supervising the Counsellor'Penny Henderson offers us an excellent resource for both trainee and experienced supervisors alike. In addition, it will be of interest to anyone interested in accessing and exploring the relational and experiential aspects of supervision. Penny also offers a wealth of informative and pragmatic resources for supporting good practice in supervision. The book is true to its title - its wisdom flows from the author's extensive knowledge and practice within supervision. I highly recommend this accessible and engaging narrative on supervision.'- Dr Lynne Gabriel, Chair, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy'The book is such a delight to read because it contains so much that is good; the author's very personal voice and extensive experience - which indeed resonates with the title - a different wisdom; the range of aspects of supervision covered; the use of the author's own research and that of others to support what she writes. I particularly enjoyed the part that addressed ageing and retirement - something that is rarely addressed in the literature and is of great relevance in a profession where many practitioners have to come to the work as a second career, in midlife, and often have only begun to get into their stride when they arrive at what society sees as the 'normal' age of retirement. I ...recommended [the] book ...and think it should be a core text for all supervision trainings.' - Professor Kim Etherington

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