Supervision is a fairly new concept in the massage profession but one that I feel will be the way for massage therapists to get the recognition and the clients that one needs to make a really great living while doing something that you love.
If you aren’t familiar with supervision, it is quite simply just all about you. It isn’t someone telling you to do something or someone telling you are doing something wrong (or right even!) Supervision is the process of working with a more experienced massage therapist for the purpose of getting the support you need so that you will be able to take the steps you need in creating your ideal massage business. It is about whatever you have going on at the moment in your business from learning to talk to clients in a way that they feel compelled to make an appointment with you and to dealing with the many feelings and thoughts that come up for you when you are working with people. It isn’t psychology or counseling. Most basically it is just listening and being a support system for YOU!
I found supervision back in about 2002 – or rather it found me. I was burned out from giving too much and not making enough money. I was involved in setting up workshops for a teacher that I was studying with and the training in itself was more draining than positive. As a result I found myself literally spinning around and going nowhere. I got a very serve case of vertigo that would come and go leaving me unable to work much. I was always canceling on clients because I was too sick to work.
I started reading a series of articles by Jack Blackburn on “Caretaking” that really hit home. I attended a 3 hour workshop with him at a convention and was then hooked on supervision.
In one of his articles he says this about supervision:
In all helping professions it is necessary to discern whose needs are being met; the practitioner or the client… this is a major reason for supervision.
I asked a few friends to join me. At first we all thought that it would be more like him telling us what to do. That was not it at all. The hardest part was learning not to give advice to each other and it still is a challenge today although we are much better and more aware of the underlying need to fix and give advice.
I have to say though that the more deeply I looked at my reasons for helping and some of the issues that lead me to burnout I can see how much my sessions used to be filled with ‘caretaking’ and not ‘caregiving’.
Supervision is the process of working with a more experienced massage therapist for the purpose of getting support in whatever stage you are at in building your massage career.