I believe that university counselling has become a highly specialised field requiring knowledge and skills over and above those of a generic counsellor. For this reason there needs to be a good fit between counsellor and supervisor and supervisors really need to understand the academic context of the work and the impact of late adolescent development on they way students present. Crucially, they also need to advocate for the effectiveness of short term counselling. with this client group. Without this fit, counsellors can feel confused and undermined by the subtle contradictions between what supervisors say about clinical need, and what is required within the university context.
My training was specifically in Student Counseling and I have worked in several university counselling services since qualifying in 1995. I am BACP Accredited and Registered. My core counselling training is psychodynamic,. I have sat on the editorial board of the international journal Psychodynamic Practice and taught of the Birkbeck Masters course in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy. However my practice has developed over the years so that I now incorporate a range of models and concepts including CBT, DIT, TA, Solution Focussed etc. My supervision training is integrative. I see the role of clinical supervisor in a university setting as supporting those who work with students to offer high quality, professional services where the academic context and the late adolescent stage of development are central to the work.
I have worked in university counselling services for 20 years including King's College London, University of Westminster, University of Sunderland, Queen Mary University of London and the London School of Economics and Political Science. I've been a counsellor, trainer, supervisor, senior counsellor and Head of Service. I've also served on the HUCS (Heads of University Counselling Services) executive committee for 5 years. So, I have seen, both locally and at a national level, the changes that have taken place over recent years; ever increasing demand for counselling, more distressed students with serious mental health difficulties, higher expectations since the introduction of tuition fees and very little corresponding increase in resources. I understand the pressure this can put upon services and on the individuals having to adapt the way they work to meet these challenges. I believe that with good quality, HE specific supervision, counsellors can be more confident, more effective, less stressed and ultimately find the work more rewarding and sustainable.