Ideally, every practitioner’s continuing professional development (CPD) activity will include opportunitites to share experiences in a supportive and challenging environment.
A BFRP peer supervision group can be a good way to create that kind of environment.
The start point for a peer supervision group is a group of BFRPs who make a commitment to meet regularly so as to share their experiences.
In 2008 a a group of BFRPs in Kent in the UK set up a group that, five years later, continues to meet for three hours a month every month.
What follows is an account of how the Kent group works. It is based on a presentation given in 2013 by Angela Davies BFRP.
At the outset the Kent group agreed some basic rules:
- The maximum number of BFRPs in the group would be six permanent members
- All the members would commit to try to attend every meeting
- A minimum of three BFRPs would be required for a meeting to go ahead
- The regular meeting time would be the 3rd Monday of each month, 09.30 to 12.30
- Members would take it in turns to host the meetings, and the host would provide tea and refreshments
- At each venue a clock and a timekeeper would be used to make sure time boundaries were kept to
- Two or three cases would be discussed at each meeting
- Towards the end of each year the members would bring diaries and agree dates for the following year
These commitments made at the outset were very important to the successful running of the group.
Having a closed group who (as far as possible) were all present at every meeting meant that the group got to know each other well.
When a case was being discussed the other members already had a feel for how the presenter’s life story and skills might impact on his or her work.
As the members got closer it became easier to support and challenge each other in a more direct way; and members were available to help each other between group sessions as well.
What happens at a session?
At the start of each meeting each attendee takes up to five minutes to tell the group “how I feel”, as a way of checking in with the others.
At each meeting two or three of the members will be presenting cases for discussion.
When presenting a case, the presenter:
- Comes prepared with notes etc. on the client she is helping
- Presents some background information (age, sex, marital status, family background, number of consultations etc.) without sharing any personal information that might identify the client
- Explains why the client needs help and what goals if any have been agreed with the client
- Gives relevant background about what is happening in the client’s life, including challenges, feelings etc.
- Shares what challenges the presenter feels about working with this client
The presenter will also come with a good idea of what kind of help or support she would like to receive from the group. She might for example talk about:
- Not being sure about remedy choices
- Not being sure what is really going on in the client’s emotional life
- Feeling “stuck” working with this person
- Feeling a need to “challenge” the client somehow but finding this difficult
- Issues of confidentiality
- Feeling that she is working near a boundary of some kind and not being comfortable with that
- Feeling that the client is “pushing the practitioner’s buttons” in some way
While the presenter is presenting, the other members of the group are taking the role of supervisor by for example:
- Listening to the case
- Taking notes of any points that seem especially relevant or that could be discussed
- Asking (open) questions of the presenter to help the presenter explore and clarify the issues
- Finding out how the presenter feels about working with the client
- Clarifying remedy choices
- Sharing hunches and feelings
- Empathising as far as possible with the client: how might the case feel to the client?
- Recognising and supporting the positive and helpful things the presenter has said and done with the client
- Encouraging the presenter to explore and consider alternative approaches to working with this client
After the time allowed for discussion of the case has elapsed, the time-keeper will bring the discussion to a close and a break can be taken before the next presentation begins.
Over a series of meetings all the members will be taking it in turn to present cases; all members at each meeting will be supervising cases presented by others.
This is what makes peer supervision so appropriate to Bach practice: there is no hierarchy involved. Practitioners are supporting each other’s growth and learning.
How can I set up my own peer support group?
The Kent group meets face-to-face at each others houses, but peer support can also be effective at a distance using Skype or other online services.
This means that peer support could be open to any BFRP, even if you are the only practitioner in your city or country.
All you need is a group of BFRPs who would like to be involved. You could contact people on the lists of active BFRPs for your country. Or you could contact the people you did Level 3 with.
Peer group supervision is free, fun, and an excellent way to gain continuing professional development.
“We thought our local monthly Bach Support Group was the best thing we ever started… until we got a Peer Supervision Group going too!” – Angela Davies BFRP
These guidelines are for the use of practitioners registered with the Dr Edward Bach Centre and relate to their work with the system of 38 flower remedies discovered by Dr Edward Bach.
References to BFRPs (Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners) include BFRAPs (Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioners) unless otherwise indicated.
The information here is provided in good faith but does not constitute legal advice or opinion. No responsibility will be taken by the Bach Centre or any of its agents or officers for any act or omission carried out by anybody who follows these guidelines.
In line with clauses 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 of the Bach Foundation Code of Practice BFRPs are responsible for their own actions at all times.