Training professional massage therapists with sensitivity, creativity and integrity



Supervision Stories

The next blog in our supervision series, here members share what supervision means to them, and how it has helped them to develop as a massage therapist.

Find an MTI supervisor in your area.

Richard Clough, Bristol

Since I qualified in 2011, I have regularly attended monthly supervision sessions. They have been an invaluable asset to me as I’ve built my practice up from scratch. I’ve had a safe place to share and bounce ideas around with other people who are at all stages within their massage journey. It’s a time for me to take stock, look at my month and see where I am and where I’m going, and of course it keeps you in contact with all the MTI loveliness that I enjoyed while training.

Sarah Bryan, Exeter

I’ve had supervision at least once per year and sometimes more often since qualifying; 3-4 times per year is ideal for me. I find that it helps me to discuss issues that I may be unable to discuss with other people, either because of confidentiality or because of feeling guilty about what I’m feeling. For instance, you can discuss a client or situation which is “pushing your buttons” in some way and stirring up responses that need exploring. Sometimes it’s just a case of offloading and sometimes it’s more about getting practical solutions for dealing with difficult situations that were not covered during training. Some of the things I have discussed include challenging clients and working environments, how to handle late cancellations and no-shows, bringing in more clients and body use. A lot of it is similar to how we support each other on the MTI Facebook group, but more in-depth and specific to you. I find it therapeutic and always feel relieved and affirmed afterwards.

Vicky Gaughan, Sheffield Centre for Massage Training, supervision overview

Sharing our experience in peer supervision or with someone else with more experience than we have provides a supportive environment, so that we can be the best massage therapist we can be. And we can get a ‘pat on the back’ from supervision, to affirm that we are doing a good job and give us a confidence boost.

Sue Attrill, Pembrokshire

Supervision helps me to feel I am not alone. It can be quite lonely being self-employed. If I have issues regarding a client, or how I felt with an incident, it is helpful to be able to share this in a confidential environment. My supervisor is a listening ear, non-judgmental, who supports me in my growth. She also is hugely encouraging, reminding me to have faith in my judgement and expertise.

I had a client once who came smelling of alcohol. It happened a few times and I was not sure how to approach this with them. I discussed this in supervision, I not only had concerns for my clients’ wellbeing, but it also brought up issues for me and some childhood experiences. My supervisor helped me to sort out what were my issues, and which were my client’s. We explored the reasons why I felt it inappropriate for a client to have been drinking. We looked at the possibility that my client may not have been drinking but have another underlying issue, and how I could approach this in an adult manner, not judging but being aware of my own needs.

When next I saw this client, I had resolved the feelings within myself. I asked a simple question, and it transpired that they did drink before a session. I explained how it may not be helpful and suggested withholding drinking for a couple of hours before a session or see me earlier in the day. It was a quick and easy discussion, the fear in my mind was not realised and I went on to treat them for a few years, having re-established the boundaries. I also saw a counsellor for a few sessions to explore my own issues.

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