Christopher Mills

Christopher Mills

South West

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At the start of my training as a psychotherapist, I envisaged supervision as a form of overbearing interference. The discovery of how wrong I was led to the flowering of what I now see as the true nature of care: that it is a shared human endeavour, based on kindness, goodwill, commitment to making mistakes, to learning from them, and to expanding the range of what’s possible through empathic relating. Supervision is not about discipline or control, but about the deliberate preservation of space to learn about self and others. Above all, it teaches us that we and our suffering clients belong to the same species. Through becoming more tolerant of our own uncertainty and vulnerability we can become more compassionate towards theirs, along the way dropping the tyrannical hold, so endemic among lawyers, of always needing to know, or always needing to be right.

Family Law Supervision is a private dialogue with a huge public impact. It broadens in scope and potential as trust in it grows over time, creating much-needed nourishment for a workspace so characterised by stress. It is a joy to me to see my supervisees and trainees increasingly practise in more integrated, self-reflective and self-sustaining ways.

I began my working life as a primary school teacher. I then spent a decade as a broadcast journalist and voice artist, during which I also began my long training as a psychotherapist. I qualified and gained admission to the UKCP register in 1999, specialising in work with couples. It was a chance meeting in 2006 that started my professional alliance with family lawyers, working alongside them in collaborative divorce cases. I was struck by the extent to which they had normalised the emotional stress of their job, ‘self-care’ not featuring at all as a subject for discussion or CPD. While writing a qualitative research MA thesis about the impact on me of working with divorcing clients, I experimentally introduced supervision to a small number of lawyer colleagues. Some time later I met Gillian Bishop of FLiP, whose enthusiasm for supervision and drive to extend awareness of it led to the FLiP Faculty training, and my role on it as teacher and tutor. In an attempt to illustrate my approach to supervision, and its potential scope, I wrote six fictional supervisory dialogues in the book The Case That Really Got To Me, published in 2018.

Other supervisors currently listed

All the supervisors listed on this site are willing and able to provide online supervision.

Gillian Bishop

Gillian Bishop

Gillian has been a solicitor for over 35 years and a specialist family lawyer for the last 25 years. During that time she has developed passion for learning more about the context of the work she does. For many years she chaired the Skills and Support committee of...

Suzanne Smales

Suzanne Smales

I have worked as a barrister in both UK and Australian jurisdictions. I worked first in the UK from 1990 -2010, as both a criminal and family barrister, before moving to Australia and qualifying there. My criminal work involved cases of rape, sexual assault and child...

Luke Menzies

Luke Menzies

South West I am a strong believer in the importance and supportive power of external, non-judgemental supervision for lawyers working in demanding areas of legal practice. I offer a slightly different perspective from other family law supervisors in that I am an...

Suzanne Kingston

Suzanne Kingston

I feel passionately that it is imperative that family lawyers have a confidential space to “download“ and I’m thrilled to be able to offer family law supervision in person or remotely. I have had an interesting career working in both small and large firms, and I...

Nigel Clarke

Nigel Clarke

Nigel has over thirty years experience of working as a family solicitor and partner in a regional multi-partner practice before establishing his own firm in 2007 to focus on dispute resolution, mediation and the importance of managing wellbeing for the wider family...

Vanessa Gardiner

Vanessa Gardiner

I qualified as a family law solicitor in 2007. I’ve worked in legal aid through to higher fee-paying clients and in small high street firms through to a PLC and top 50 UK firm. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced many of the different cultures, structures, and...

Pamela Collis

Pamela Collis

A legal career can involve periods of crushing overload, fear of lack of knowledge or experience, especially early on, and a need for more support than may be available from your firm. I have been a supervisee as well as supervisor. I have seen how supervision plays...

Sophie Barrett

Sophie Barrett

I have been a family lawyer for over 20 years, in boutique and large London firms, a large regional firm and as a family policy advisor at the Ministry of Justice. I am now self employed and enjoying that challenge and opportunity, combined with balancing work-life as...

Jayne Hale

Jayne Hale

I trained as a counsellor over 15 years ago firstly working in Adult Mental Health with individuals and Group Work at Mind. Later joined Relate together with additional training to deliver Couples and Systemic Family therapy. I have also studied a Post Graduate course...

Andrea Ehgartner

Andrea Ehgartner

During my training as a Social Worker in Munich, Germany I became interested in systemic psychotherapy/ family therapy and following my move to the UK in 1996 I completed my training as a Systemic Psychotherapist in 2002. I have worked as a systemic psychotherapist...