As both Christmas and the end of the 2013 approach with gathering speed, the arrival of a new year has particular personal significance: 2014 will be my 10th year in independent practice (IP).
The uncertainty I experienced when I left the NHS and co-founded ‘intandem’ with my business partner, Cathy Sparkes, a decade ago was equal to the excitement of a fresh project and the potential to offer a quality service that embodied our shared principles and values without compromise.
Whilst it remains a decision I have not once regretted, it has been a steep learning curve – I had gained a rich clinical experience and knowledge base throughout my career in the NHS and adult education, however I was not equipped with business management skills – and so my knowledge of business models, strategy, systems, processes, costings had to grow rapidly. This has not been without its challenges; regular access to support and supervision has been vital and this has taken many forms over the years.
Access to regular clinical supervision has been an invaluable lifeline throughout my career. In recognition of the challenges of IP and the emotional intensity of my work as a speech and language therapist and counsellor, I prioritise regular 1:1 and group supervision.
Supervision is the touchstone to my practice. It is the safe place where I can explore my work honestly and with informed reflection. I value my supervisory relationships highly; they are trusting, respectful and accepting, and offer me a rich learning process that I experience as creative, affirming and expanding. I appreciate the breadth and depth of my supervision; within it I have the scope to focus on my anxieties, concerns, struggles, successes and aspirations in addition to client issues, professional relationships and my career development. Having practised for almost 20 years, I now access more supervision than I have had at any previous point in my career – which directly contradicts the pervasive view within speech and language therapy that regular supervision is for more junior therapists.
Leaving the safety of a large and well-structured organisation, such as the NHS, can feel daunting. In response, Cathy and I recognised the importance of connection – not only with each other, but also with other IPs, practitioners in the public sector and the broader profession. Wanting to share our passion for supervision we have written articles on the subjectfor Speech and Language Therapy in Practice and RCSLT Bulletin, as well as registering two courses with RCSLT: ‘Are you getting enough (1)?:Developing an understanding of supervision theories, models and practice’and ‘Are you getting enough (2)? Making the transition from supervisee to supervisor’.
New for 2014 is a joint venture with ASLTIP to promote the importance of regular access to good quality supervision within IP. I will be facilitating an ‘Are you getting enough (1)?’ course in Milton Keynes on 1st February 2014. Places are restricted to 15, so early booking is recommended. If you would like some more information or to join me on the day, do please get in touch.
The views expressed in the blog do not necessarily represent the views of ASLTIP. Publication does not imply endorsement.
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