Supervision for those in the helping professions

Those of us who work in what may be called ‘the helping professions’ such as nursing, midwifery, mental health practice, disability support or any profession that involves working with people who are in crisis or needing assistance in other ways, are often called upon to make great demands of ourselves. Long hours or very busy days, the challenges of working within a bureaucracy, the sometimes difficult relationships with our colleagues and our managers, and the needs or demands of our clients can leave us feeling hollow, exhausted and sometimes resentful and confused. Often too, without realising it, we manage and absorb vicarious trauma on a far too regular basis.

Supervision is a wonderful way to explore the thoughts and feelings we are often left with. Regular supervision involving discussion of the everyday dilemmas and issues with which you are faced, against a background of supported and sometimes challenging reflection on your practice, leads to personal and professional development, and reduces the risk of burn-out. Revisiting the ethics of your profession against a background of your personal values is often a valuable and enlightening part of the process.

I am trained and experienced in supervision and have given tuition and mentoring in several professional fields. I am a psychotherapist with a long training and over ten years experience. In recent years I have also worked as the team leader for a group of people who support those with severe and enduring mental illness. I am used to being part of an interdisciplinary team and I have a background in independent midwifery, so I understand the demands of this career as well as the challenges faced by other professionals who are part of hospital support. During this part of my life I was part of a Standards Review process, contributing as a reviewer as well as submitting my own work for regular review as required by my profession.

I have been privileged to work with many dedicated professional people of great compassion and integrity through the years. Below are some of the generous comments I have received on my work as a supervisor.


“Barbara Churcher, has been giving me supervision for two and half years, which has proved invaluable to my professional work.   Barbara has provided me with much insight into my work and has given me many opportunities to reflect and improve my work practice.

Barbara has a calm and empathic presence which has led me to feel very comfortable in speaking candidly.  Barbara’s knowledge and compassion has inspired me to continually improve myself both professionally and personally.” 


“Barbara has been my professional supervisor for over 2 years in my role as a mental health case manager. Barbara offers a great deal of insight in to clients as well as providing a supportive space for professionals to explore how the work is affecting them. She has appropriately challenged me to work on my weaknesses whilst acknowledging my strengths to facilitate growth in my practice. I would highly recommend Barbara as a supervisor to any professionals in the helping field as I feel that I am a better practitioner because of her guidance.”


“In my supervision with Barb, I found her gentle, calming and knowledgeable approach deeply enhanced my own professional development and practice.


“In the two plus years that I have known Barbara professionally I have always found her to be a highly competent and knowledgeable manager, approachable during difficult times and ready to support her staff. Barbara is also an advocate for team success and the greater success of the organisation. I would welcome working with Barbara again and would not hesitate to recommend her in a supervisory and/or management capacity.”

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