PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION WITH DAMIEN PEILE
Supervision provides professional and personal support to people working in Church ministry. Offered in a trusting and confidential setting, the benefits can include improved workplace relationships, renewed sense of vocation, clarity of roles, support and managing stress.
For many years I have worked as a spiritual mentor, counsellor and social worker. During this time, I have met with many people working in Church communities including ministers, pastoral workers, students of theology and volunteers. Among the many issues arising in our conversations are :
- The need to gain greater balance between the demands of ministry and home life.
- A lack of professional development in ministry – sometimes feeling unskilled in ministry with some tasks
- A feeling of isolation in ministry and a lack of teamwork with the result resulting in feelings of burnout
Reflecting on the challenges of working in ministry today and looking to support people on this journey, I also offer professional supervision services in person or via zoom
My primary training is in theology, social work and counselling. I am a member of the Australian Association of Supervisors (AAOS) https://www.supervision.org.au
Introduction to Professional Supervision
WHAT IS PROFESSIONAL PASTORAL SUPERVISION ?
The AAOS defines supervision as a contractual, relational, collaborative process, which facilitates the ethical and professional practice of the supervisee. AAOS further defines supervision as a professional contracted relationship between a trained supervisor and a practitioner. Supervision is an opportunity for the supervisee to reflect on their practice to gain a broader perspective, opening up a space in which to discover possibilities for personal and professional growth.
Professional supervision is a structured process that is framed around the needs of the person(supervisee)coming for supervision In a confidential and trusting environment, people bring their actual work-practice to another person (i.e. the Supervisor) and with their help review what has happened in their work practice in order to learn from that experience. Supervisees talk about their work and through a process of shared reflection and thoughtfulness with the Supervisor, find more effective ways of managing their work-life balance.
WHO IS PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION FOR ?
- Clergy and ministers
- Chaplains in hospitals, schools, universities, prisons, aged care or other
- Employees of church organisations
- Teachers in church managed schools
- Carers and volunteers working in Church based organisations
- Students of theology
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION PROCESS ?
At early meetings the following is covered :
- Brief introduction about the nature of supervision
- A definition of professional pastoral supervision
- Understanding & Preparing for supervision
- Confidentiality & Disclosure information
- A Supervision Agreement is developed covering short and long term goals
- Agreement on ongoing sessions
BENEFITS OF PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION – What Others Say…
Contact Damien for further information
M : 0419 503 421
ABN : 1511 947 1884
Contact Damien Today
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What issues or concerns do people bring to supervision?
Anything is appropriate that arises from the actual experience in ministry and can cover goals such as time management, setting priorities, dealing with some people. Sometimes the goal relates to a significant event or personal experience in the workplace that arouses strong feelings that needs clarifying. It is helpful for the supervisee to bring along a goal or statement such as :
- In my ministry at the moment, I feel…
- This specific pastoral incident has occurred and I need to discuss it…
- I want an outcome regarding …
How is professional supervision different from spiritual direction or counselling?
Counselling addresses the mental well-being of a person and spiritual direction focuses on one’s relationship with God. The goal of pastoral supervision is about reflection on one’s work-practice so as to increase a sense of fulfilment and achievement in ministry. Pastoral supervision provides a forum to reflect and review workplace ministry practice in order to find new learnings and insights. This process helps build an accountable and professional ministry as well as a more satisfying one. It is also good to keep in mind there are several overlapping processes in Spiritual Direction, Counselling and Pastoral Supervision but that doesn’t take away from the distinction between them.
Supervision and confidentiality
In most instances, pastoral supervision is completely confidential. In situations where the supervisor identifies potential abuse or other actions requiring further exploration, a discussion with the supervisee would take place with a view to information being shared with the employer organisation. The supervisor is guided by the legal and ethical standards of the profession.
My approach to supervision
In the context of ministry, pastoral supervision becomes a rewarding journey for people who desire to gain deeper insight and greater understanding in their workplace practices. It is described by Pohly, K. (2001) as ‘A broad space to talk about whatever is happening in ministry’
In a culture of ‘quick fixes’ with pressure to succeed in the work place, little time is left to step back, and reflect and ponder on what is being done or why it is being done. My approach to supervision includes contemplative practices such as stillness and silence, prayer and meditation. I have found that these practices add a rich source of enquiry to the thinking mind in dealing with problems in ministry, by creating a space to take time out to reflect and ponder on what needs attention.
Approaching a difficult situation from this contemplative practice can yield insights that might otherwise be unknown if one relied solely on their “thinking mind.” That is because problems sometimes require that we take a step back from the situation so as to see a bigger picture of what is happening.