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Nov 2014 by PCI College

Bite-Sized Book Review: Getting the Best Out of Supervision by Mary Creaner

Colm Early, PCI College Lecturer reviews 'Getting the Best Out of Supervision' by Mary Creaner and finds it to be a useful and valuable guide for the trainee counsellor as they begin supervision.

‘Supervision always occurs within a context and the context of the work also needs to inform supervision’.

These opening remarks by Mary Creaner in her book ‘Getting the Best Out of Supervision’ set the tone for this exposé of supervision that maintains a keen eye on the development of the supervisee in particular.  The author manages to go that extra mile and place supervision centre stage of sound therapeutic practice and she joins the ranks of Carroll et al who have managed to lay the bedrock for sound supervisory practice in Ireland.

The author comes to supervision from the background of education and psychotherapy and conceptualises supervision as a meeting place of both. However, supervision is not therapy nor is it education but from her perspective, the author believes that the knowledge base in each have relevance for supervision; ‘each speaks to the uniqueness of the individual, to facilitative and collaborative learning relationships, to growth and development’.

As an educationalist Mary Creaner writes out of her own learning and experience of supervision and she has gone on to develop psychotherapy training in TCD along with subsequent supervision and research training. As a psychotherapist her theoretical orientation is integrative and informed by psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and systems approaches which are underpinned by a humanistic perspective. The focus of this book is on the work of supervision from the perspective of the supervisee and it looks at areas such as; The Meaning and Purpose of Supervision; The Supervisory Relationship; Lifelong Learning in Supervision as well as Preparing for Supervision. The writing is concise and focused and the work is informative and engaging and each chapter provides some challenging questions and vignettes to promote more discussion along with some useful Appendices.

The supervisory relationship is the container in which all supervision tasks, including evaluation are conducted.  My review of ‘Getting the Best Out of Supervision’ acknowledges it as a valuable and useful reference and guide for the trainee beginning supervision, for the experienced counsellor in supervision and for the practicing supervisor also as well as for those involved in the training of supervisees and supervisors.  This book provides a hammock of support for those travelling curiously in the important and professional work of supervision and my one criticism of the book is that the reading of the text could be made easier with a larger font!


Colm Early MIACP, MAPPI (November 2014)
PCI College Lecturer & Client Work Coordinator

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