What is Family Law Supervision?
Working in family law can sometimes feel as though it is all client facing and as such you can be regularly exposed to heightened human emotion. Prolonged and unmanaged exposure to this level of emotional trauma and distress can lead to chronic stress, burn-out, addictions and workaholism.
Supervision offers a confidential, safe, non-judgmental and supportive space with ethical and professional boundaries to support you and enhance your development and growth.
Your supervisor will be at different times a listening ear, a sounding board, a mentor and an educator.
Your work life is multi-faceted; as well as working with clients, family law practitioners work with colleagues, other professionals, authorities and public agencies – these all also add to the emotional experiences of your life in family law. Supervision pays attention to all of these relationships.
Supportive supervision is about you, it can encompass discussions about work, clients and colleagues – though you are at the centre. It gives a time for you when, sometimes, it feels like there is no time for you.
There isn’t a work you and a home you – each life spills into both – supervision allows time and space to explore any aspect of life that may be affecting you in the workplace, or equally any aspect of work life that spills into your home life.
Supervision helps you understand yourself – including your own expectations and enables you to identify your reasonable limitations and work towards a more realistic work/life balance.
The supervision relationship can be both supportive and challenging – it helps you effectively care for yourself enabling you to care for your clients and colleagues.
Supervision is proactive caring rather than reactive caring – it is easier to manage your emotional self if you give yourself a set space and time to do so.
Supervision is a forum for you and your supervisor to explore where an aspect of your work life may have held significance or caused a higher than normal emotional response.
This all takes place in the shadow of the legal world – which is a hugely competitive and demanding environment.
What supervision is not:
Supervision is not counselling or psychotherapy, although there will be times when you feel deeply seen and understood, so it can feel like it.
Supervision does not give you answers – though there can be many questions. There is no fixed outcome of agenda – it is an organic rather than a scripted process with a fellow professional who is trained to listen.
It isn’t about asking if something was correct or the right thing to do – but rather growing the self-awareness to see the impact on you of decisions you make and actions you take.
It has nothing to do with judging your ability as a practitioner or the quality of the work that you do – it supports you while you go about doing your job, whilst exploring why you make certain decisions and the impact they have on you.
The practicalities of supervision:
The success of your supervision depends on the strength of the supervisory relationship. It is important to meet or speak with your supervisor regularly as agreed for an hour’s discussion. This can take place virtually or in person either at your place of work or your supervisor’s.
There are commonly monthly sessions though if you and your supervisor agree it can be more frequent if required, depending on your needs – this may happen if you are going through a difficult period, case or whilst qualifying or when facing a change or transition.
Supervision is open to everybody who undertakes any role in family law.
Your supervisor may come from any number of backgrounds including law, mediation, counselling or therapy and others – and will all have completed the FLiP Faculty training which is tailored specifically for Family Law Supervisors.
Supervisors will be covered by insurance and have safeguarding procedures according to their professional governing bodies.