Core members of the Mindfulness Network have collaborated on the development and publication of a framework, which details the framework our supervisors use within supervision. We recommend taking the time to read these pages and the paper: A Framework for Supervision for Mindfulness-Based Teachers: a Space for Embodied Mutual Inquiry http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-014-0292-4.
Where Do Sessions Take Place?
Most of our listed supervisors will offer both individual and group supervision sessions via face-to-face meetings, telephone and skype. This enables you to have supervision no matter where you are located.
The Initial Contracting Session
The initial 30-minute paid Contracting Session for a new supervisee and supervisor is an opportunity for you to: become acquainted; complete and understand the supervision contract; and explore how you can best work together and discuss what your and the supervisor’s intentions are for the supervision. This lays the important foundations of your work together.
How Your Sessions Are Structured
Supervision sessions generally last 30 minutes or one hour, and can occur at intervals (e.g. weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) that suit your requirements.
As a supervisee, you will determine the content of subsequent sessions and will be responsible for deciding what material to bring to supervision and how to apply the learning gained. Your supervisor may wish to be emailed in advance with a provisional agenda for the next supervision session in order to facilitate the best use of the time available. Taking time before your session to consider what you wish to bring to supervision is important. Often less is more, so a huge agenda may need to be cut down by considering what is most important to you. If you can, find time to practise and pause as you consider your agenda. If you can, take a few moments to practise before your session to help you to prepare.
“My supervisor played an important and very supportive role in my learning during training. After an initial phone call, when we had a chance to get to know each other, we agreed to have monthly supervision phone calls. Because I was not intending to run any eight-week courses this year, it felt appropriate to have this amount of supervision time. I needed somewhere where I could attempt to integrate my experience of the course and my continuing practice in a way that didn’t fall back on an attempt to overly analyse. We settled on a format where I was able to list an agenda at the start of the phone call of what we might consider. Early on, there was time to reflect on what was dominating my experience at the time. This could mean me stumbling to find the right words to express my experience. Sometimes towards the end of a session, I would highlight what I might bring to the next supervision.”
Although you primarily set the agenda, your supervisor, who is there to guide you, may also wish to add agenda items. Supervisors can help you to see blind spots so sometimes the interesting parts of supervision are what you don’t wish to bring! Building trust in your supervisor allows you to work in a meaningful and honest way with each other – letting yourself be open.
Your supervisor will be responsible for offering guidance and support. This may include exploring your personal meditation practice, and bringing the practice of teaching and inquiry into the supervision sessions. The supervision process will aim to encourage investigative dialogue and exploration around the issues brought to supervision or arising in the session. This is seen as a two-way learning process, though advice and guidance may be offered as appropriate.
“For me, the experience of supervision is one of profound inquiry, with the teaching as one’s practice. I found that not only did my teaching develop but that my own mindfulness practice also deepened – perhaps not surprisingly. My supervisor walked alongside me, asking deep, sometimes challenging questions, but always with a tenderness, genuine interest and lightness of touch that I found liberating.”
Also consider what process supports you after supervision. How are you going to incorporate this learning into your mindfulness-based practice and teaching? Perhaps you choose to give yourself some time for reflection, or keep a diary/ log of your supervision.