At Harbour, we currently have a trainee clinical psychologist placement student from Plymouth University, Becca Parkden. Becca has introduced peer supervision sessions, which she facilitates for staff twice a month. The sessions are staff-led with one member of staff bringing some sort of dilemma or challenge they have experienced, and it will be up to the group to discuss the situation and talk what is going on, what might be helpful moving forward and why they might be struggling with it in a particular way. This helps encourage people to share their own experiences so others may get different ideas of ways of working.
Becca’s role is to facilitate the conversation, ensuring everyone is participating and by keeping it moving and useful. She will also be able to bring in and apply helpful psychological thinking and theories which are relevant to the situation. These sessions are important because as Harbour has grown and changed, everyone is busy working hard. Staff often don’t have the opportunity to stop and consider things like: is this how they want to be working and is this the best way to go about it, making mindful reflection key. These sorts of sessions are really important to provide a space for staff to just stop, think about their work and check in with each other to improve general wellbeing.
Becca explains, “I am keen for the groups to decide the structure of the sessions. I have kept the sessions quite deliberately vague because in some settings these sessions might be really focussed on client work and understanding what is going on for clients and how do we respond to them. It might also be including different theories or ways of working and it’s almost like training, but using real time dilemmas that people have and learning from each other.
“Other types of peer supervision sessions might be a lot more like reflective practice, which is for staff to think about the impact it has on us and have a bit more of an emotional space for thinking and sharing that with one another. Although these sessions may not give people solutions and really concrete things to do, I hope it will help them feel more supported and more confident in their work. From what I can see, people do amazing work, so it’s about building on that.”
As Becca is only on placement at Harbour until August, the aim is the role of facilitator will be passed onto a member of Harbour staff so these important sessions can continue and become an embedded practice within the organisation.