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Mindful Clinical Supervision. Dr Julia Bowman Leadership Unit, Health Education & Training Institute . By the end of the presentation participants will: Understand how mindfulness is related to clinical supervision?

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Mindful clinical supervision

Mindful Clinical Supervision

Dr Julia Bowman

Leadership Unit, Health Education & Training Institute


By the end of the presentation participants will:

  • Understand how mindfulness is related to clinical supervision?

  • Understand how they can apply mindfulness strategies to clinical supervision?

  • Be aware of the benefits of using mindfulness as a tool for clinical supervision?

  • Have had the opportunity to practice a mindfulness strategy.


C linical supervision

  • The provision of guidance & feedback on matters of personal, professional & educational development to facilitate appropriate & safe patient care

    (HETI, The Superguide, 2013)

Clinical supervision

Purpose of clinical supervision

Supervision is conversational-based learning…

Purpose of clinical supervision

(Carroll, 2006, HETI, The Superguide, 2013, p.16)

Aim of clinical supervision

Supervisors assist their staff/students:

  • In the transition from dependent novice to autonomous practitioner

  • To use their experience as a springboard for further learning

  • To become reflective practitioners

Aim of clinical supervision

M indfulness clinical supervision

  • Clinical supervision ismore than a cognitive process

  • Requires awareness of ones:

    • Emotions

    • Intuitions

    • Sensations

    • Bodily experiences

  • Reflections need to resonate with the heartas well as the head

  • Enhances the supervision experience for both the supervisor & supervisee

    (Carroll, 2009)

Mindfulness & clinical supervision?

What is mindfulness

  • A technique that people use to become purposefully awareof their thoughts,feelings and decisions in the present moment in a non-judgmental way

    (Carroll, 2009, Eggers, 2007, Kabat-Zinn, 1994)

What is mindfulness?

What strategies can you apply to facilitate a mindful clinical supervision session
What strategies can you apply to facilitate a mindful clinical supervision session?

Use of mindfulness the supervisor

  • Before supervision

    • Self-awareness

    • Preparing the environment

  • During supervision

    • Being present

    • Focusing attention

    • Non-judgment

  • After supervision

    • Reflection

Use of mindfulness: The supervisor

Before supervision

As a supervisor it is important to:

  • Prepare yourself

    • Stop what you are doing

    • Clear your mind

    • Reflect on your thoughts, feelings & motivations

  • Prepare the environment

    • Quiet & private space

    • Free from distraction & interruption


Before supervision

Seven mindfulness working principles

Before commencing supervision recall:

  • Begin all work in stillness

  • Separatecomponents of work with pauses

  • Work until work is finished

  • Meet our working need

  • Allow our instrument to do the work

  • Focus on wherework is taking place

  • Let work flow

    (McKenzie, 2013)

Seven mindfulness working principles

Mindfulness activity

The STOP exercise:

  • S– stop & pause

  • T – take a breath (take a moment)

  • O – observe

  • P – proceed with your agenda

Mindfulness activity

During supervision

  • Being present

    • Slow down

    • Stay in the moment

    • Accept things the way they are

  • Focusing attention

    • Give yourself time & space

    • Consciously direct your awareness

    • Attend to the present experience

    • Notice what is going on right now

  • Non-judgmental awareness

    • Observe what is happening

    • Have an open mind

    • Avoid assumptions about behaviour

    • Have empathy

During supervision

Mindfulness activity1

  • Mindfulness of sounds

    • Sounds are mostly out of our control

    • Good subject to learn to just “be” with

    • Unlikely to be able to influence or alter

    • Things we can just experience

  • In this exercise you are invited to:

    • Be aware of sounds as sounds

    • Not labeling, not naming, not judging

    • Noticing when sounds are arising

    • Noticing the presence of the sound

    • Noticing when sounds are receding

    • Noticing the constant change in the sounds you are hearing

      (Tobler & Herrmann, 2013)

Mindfulness activity

Mindful communication

These principles can be used to enhance a supervision session:

  • Understand what you believe & why. We are motivated by our beliefs!

  • Practice non-attachment to our own views

  • Accept that your perceptions are limited

  • Bring empathy to every communication

  • Bekind – everyone is carrying a burden

  • Be respectful

  • Genuinely connectwith people

  • Be fully engaged

  • Recognisethe role your judgment plays in how you communicate

    (Arpa, 2013, McKenzie, 2013, Nhat Hahn, n.d., Tobler & Herrmann, 2013, Schoeberlein, 2009)

Mindful communication

Mindful listening

  • Listening to session:what is both said & un-said

  • Listen withoutjudging

  • Listen without reacting

  • Listen without interrupting

  • Listen without distraction (email, texts, etc.)

  • Let the person know they are truly being heard

Mindful listening

After supervision

Reflect session:on the supervision experience:

  • Turn your focus & attention to the experience of supervision

  • Immerse yourself in the remembered events

  • Be sensitive to what happened

  • What new knowledge has come through to you?

  • What are you taking away in terms of insights, feelings, thoughts?

  • How can you integratewhat you have learned?

  • What have you learned from that experience about yourself? About others?About work & practice?

    (Carroll, 2006, Carroll, 2009, Dray & Wineski, 2011)

After supervision

Benefits of mindfulness

  • Improve session:focus & concentration

  • Increase self-awareness

  • Reduce the impact & influenceof stressful thoughts & feelings

  • Facilitate better relationships

  • Catching self-defeating behaviours& substitute with more effective ones

  • Become aware of self-defeating

    thought processes & let them go

    (Tobler & Herrmann, 2013)

Benefits of mindfulness

Improved session:performance

Reduced stress

Greater satisfaction in work & life

In a…


  • Altman, D. (2011). session:One minute mindfulness. Novato, California, New World Library.

  • Arpa, M. (2013). Mindfulness at work: Flourishing in the workplace. East Sussex, Leaping Hare Press.

  • Carroll, M. (2006). Key issues in coaching psychology. The Coaching Psychologist, 2(1), 4-8.

  • Carroll, M. (2009). From mindless to mindful practice: Onlearning reflection in supervision. Psychotherapy In Australia, 15(4), 40-51.

  • Dary, B., & Wisneski, D. (2011). Mindful reflection as a process for developing culturally responsive practices. Teaching Exceptional Children, Sept/Oct, 28-36.

  • HETI (2013). The superguide: A guide for supervising oral health professionals. Sydney, HETI.

  • McKenzie, S. (2013). Mindfulness at work. Wollombi, NSW, Exisle Publishing.

  • Nhat Hahn, T. (n.d.). Work: How to find joy and meaning in each hour of the day. Berkeley, Parallax Press.

  • Schoeberlein, D. (2009). Mindful teaching and teaching mindfulness. Boston, Wisdom Publications.

  • Tobler, A., & Herrmann, S. (2013). The rough guide to mindfulness: The essential companion to personal growth. London, Rough Guides.