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Mindfulness-based Supervision with Kathy Ward at Mindful Academy International

A regular space that is contracted between Supervisor and Supervisee that enables them to reflect together on the Supervisee's Mindfulness practice and explore how it impacts and integrates with their work and life. This process is dedicated to developing and deepening the growth, understanding and effectiveness of the Supervisee's application of Mindfulness, both professionally and in their working life”

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Pre-course and on-going mindfulness supervision is an important part of the good practice requirements for both student teachers starting out on the Teacher Training Pathway (TTP) and qualified teachers of mindfulness-based classes, workshops and courses. It can provide you with an invaluable opportunity to reflect upon and inquire about your mindfulness teaching and practice, and if just starting out on your Teacher Training Pathway (TTP) help you prepare for your course.

Pre-course Supervision with Mindful Academy International:

As I feel that Supervision is a vital part of teaching practice, 1 x individual pre course Orientation Supervision call, 8 x 1 hour group Supervision calls and 1 x individual Supervision call (worth 285 euros per course) is included in the price of both course the Foundation MBSR Teacher Training and Advanced MBSR Teacher Training with Mindful Academy International. Here's what Bina had to say about a recent group supervision session with Kathy -

Thank you for the supervision session. I found it extremely beneficial. Your vast knowledge and experience as well as your support and encouragement, has made me aware of my learning gaps. As a result I am better able to mange my own learning and improve my skills. These skills include time management, engagement with participants (holding the space) as well as presenting the material without losing its essence. I appreciate the emphasis placed on own practice and being the embodiment of mindfulness. Looking forward to the next session.

Ongoing Supervision:

Ongoing Supervision may include 'live' teaching practice and feedback, inquiry around issues arising in your teaching, and/or discussion based on videoed sessions. It may also focus upon your personal mindfulness practice including Mindful Movement and how it impacts on your work. Unlike other experiences of supervision that you may have had, though, what is unique to mindfulness supervision is that the session itself is imbued with mindfulness in terms of practice, embodied presence and compassion.

The sessions are very much a collaborative process. The intention is to create an alliance between you and your supervisor that will foster an open and creative exploration of your personal practice and how it might interweave with your teaching and mindfulness in work. Mindfulness Supervision is complex and we take the role very seriously, both Kathy and Bodhin are trained MBSR Supervisiors with the Centre for Mindfulness Practice and Research CMRP, Bangor University in England.

Cost:

Initial contracting and administrative fee of 40 euros, this includes a 30 minute contracting session with your Supervisor. This cost is waivered for students and graduates of the Mindful Academy International Foundation and Advanced courses.

Supervision fees for graduates are currently 50 euros per hour and 35 euros per half hour. This includes reviewing and discussing submitted audio or visual recordings as part of ongoing development.

We also offer graduates a special discounted price of 350 euros for 8 hours of support when running the 8 Week MBSR course. For more details please visit the Dates and Prices page

Booking:

Please contact us and we will send you the application form to contract your Supervision sessions. Once agreed, payment for all sessions is then in advance and cancellations are only possible if notification is sent by email one week in advance, in which case the payment can be moved to a new date. Payments for sessions not attended cannot be moved or refunded. If your session runs over time (subject to availability of the Supervisor) then additional costs apply. 

A Mindfulness-based Supervision Model:

The model of mindfulness-based supervision offered here is informed by many years of experience and reflection particularly within the Universities of Bangor, Exeter and Oxford as well as the Mindfulness Network. For further information about the nature of mindfulness-based supervision see the following paper: Evans, A., Crane, R., Cooper, L,. Mardula, J., Wilks, J., Surawy, C., Kenny, M., Kuyken, W. (2014). A Framework for Supervision for Mindfulness-Based Teachers: a Space for Embodied Mutual Inquiry; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-014-0292-4.

Supervision flower
Developed by Cindy Cooper, Alison Evans and Jody Mardula 2015

The Outer Circle -  The Container of Mindfulness:

This outer circle represents the container of mindfulness which holds the entire supervision process, imbuing it with the characteristics of mindfulness. The whole of the teaching, training and supervision process is mindfulness-based.
INTENTION: The power and importance of clear Intention is central to mindfulness and to mindfulness supervision. This is the clarity of purpose which we align with and which has a power of its own to help us carry on when difficulties arise. The supervisor holds this clarity of over-all intention for engaging in this work and helps the supervisee become clear about and reconnect with their intentions. As issues arise in supervision and as supervisees develop, recalling and reconnecting with intention is essential.

Embodied Presence:

Throughout the supervision process the supervisor embodies and models for the supervisee the principles and processes of mindfulness represented through the attitudinal foundations (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). A sense of common humanity is key to this: the supervisor is a human being who lives and relates to difficulties in life (including supervision) using mindfulness. In turn, the supervisee learns to model and embody this for their participants.

Integrity:

This is about staying true to the underlying philosophy of mindfulness which comes from basic Buddhist principles to the underpinning theories and understandings of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programmes that developed from a deep understanding of this foundational base. It includes doing no harm. It involves supporting, developing and when necessary challenging the supervisee's competence and ethical adherence to the programme being taught.

Compassion & Wisdom:

These underpin the entire supervision process. Within the supervision relationship the skilful supervisor balances kindness, empathy and acceptance with the wise, firm courage to challenge, embodying and implicitly communicating both Compassion and the clarity of Wisdom to the supervisee, just as it is communicated in the mindfulness-based programmes.

The Inner Ring - 'The Belt'

The inner ring sets the standards that hold the supervision process, and helps holds the ethics and integrity of mindfulness-based programmes in the world.

Attitudinal Foundations 

(Jon Kabt-Zinn 1990): These are the essence of mindfulness-based approaches, distilled from basic Buddhist principles such the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Four Noble Truths, and put into words that speak to all of us. These are the attitudes a supervisor brings to supervision and models for the supervisee, so the supervisee can in turn live and model them for their participants. Non-judging; Patience; Beginner's Mind; Acceptance; Trust; Non-striving; Letting go.

Contracts:

These are mutually agreed arrangements made between supervisor and supervisee which clarify business arrangements (dates, times, payment, confidentiality, etc.) for structuring the supervision sessions, but also clarify how supervisor and supervisee will work together, including intentions, boundaries and adherence to the Good Practice Guidelines. The overall contract holds the integrity of the supervision sessions, holds the space of the supervisory process and fosters the development of the supervisory relationship. An important part of supervision is periodically re-visiting and clarifying these agreed arrangements and intentions.

Good Practice Guidelines:

These are clear statements of what training, practice and on-going learning is important for Mindfulness-based Teachers and for Mindfulness-based Trainers, as developed and agreed by the UK Network for Mindfulness-based Teacher Training Organisations.

MBI-TAC:

This is a detailed outline of the various competencies needed for adherence to good teaching. The MBI:TAC can be an assessment tool, but can also be a valuable and creative training tool in supervision.

The Inner 'Petals'

These are the 'subject matter' of supervision. This is what the Supervisor needs to know from his or her deep inner experience; what is brought into supervision by Supervisor and/or Supervisee; and what the Supervisee needs to learn and experience personally.

Teaching Skills:

Specifics of what teaching skills are explored in supervision vary depending on the stage of the supervisee's development. These may include all the preliminaries needed before beginning to run a course, details of the appropriate curriculum, what to teach, how to lead practices, working with inquiry, making CDs, handouts, timing issues, ways of conveying teaching, resources, feedback on teaching, and on-going development of all the teaching and inquiry skills. The MBI:TAC explores all these skills in great detail.

Contexts:

Application context: a clear understanding and knowledge of the specific client or group to which the supervisee is delivering the mindfulness-based programme and the expertise necessary for that specific application, such as MBSR, MBCT, cancer, children, addictions, etc. Organisational context: clarity around the impact of the organisation in which the supervisee works, e.g. prisons, NHS, businesses, schools, etc.

Context may impact on choice of curriculum, on what is possible in terms of course structure and what support is available for the mindfulness-based teacher.

Group and Individual Process:

An understanding of the learning and developmental processes of both individuals and groups., bringing clarity to stages of development in the supervisee as well as in their participants, and to group dynamics as it relates to the teaching process and the issues that come up in a class. This is of relevance to the developing relationship between supervisor and supervisee as well as to issues around co-teaching and the inquiry process.

Theory and understanding of Mindfulness:

Understanding why things are taught and done the way they are in MBSR and MBCT. This includes a broader and deeper understanding of the universal human condition and how the foundational Buddhist principles and psychological principles underpin mindfulness-based programmes and inform all aspects of the way mindfulness is taught. This understanding of theory is both an intellectual knowing and a deeper experiential knowing which develops over time in practice and in the supervisory relationship.

Life-long Meditation and Practice:

This is the source of the deeper experiential knowing that goes beyond an intellectual knowing. Essential to authentic mindfulness supervision and teaching is the understanding that arises from one's own life-long personal meditation practice, both formal and informal, and from weaving this deepening understanding into all aspects of one's life and work. This foundational experiential understanding in the supervisor is essential in supporting and exploring the supervisees' own mindfulness meditation practice and the articulation of mindfulness in their work and life.

Space between the Petals

This is a reminder that space is essential to mindfulness – to supervision, to inquiry, to our lives. Pausing. Taking a Breathing Space. Opening.

The Centre Circle - The Heart of Supervision

Mutual Inquiry:

the relational connection between Supervisor and Supervisee
The Inquiry process is a major necessary skill for the mindfulness-based supervisor, who brings their inquiry skill into the supervision session, both for themselves and for the supervisee. Initially, in order to open to the supervisee, the supervisor must first know his or her own inner experience and be steady and grounded with that, so it begins with self-inquiry. From that embodied groundedness, the supervisor can then open to and inquire into the supervisee's experience – what has happened, what is happening right now, and how the supervisee can relate to that experience in a way that promotes reflection, development and understanding. The supervisor is modelling, embodying and using the same inquiry process which the supervisee will be using with their participants.

Key to this process is the on-going development and establishment of trust between supervisor and supervisee. This requires a strong yet gentle foundation in the supervisor of consistency, reliability, competence, positive intentionality, safety and kindness, all of which spring from the supervisor's mindfulness practice and experience and which in turn allows those same foundational qualities to grow in the supervisee.

Further reading:

Hawkins, P., Shohet, R., Ryde, J., & Wilmot, J. (2012). Supervision in the helping professions. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Shohet, R. (2008). Passionate supervision. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Shohet, R. (2011). Supervision as transformation: A passion for learning. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.