How to use self-reflection in cognitive behavioral supervision



Conscious recognition of one's own emotions, feelings, thoughts or attitudes at the time of their origin and the ability to observe and continuously realize them are among the essential skills of the therapist and supervisor. In self-reflective awareness, the mind observes and explores all experiences, including emotions and bodily reactions. Awareness of one's own experience during therapy is an important feedback system for the therapist. It helps to optimize therapeutic behaviour. The therapist predominantly learns self-reflection during the supervision process, so that their attitudes and behaviour can be better used to work with clients. The deepening of self-reflection happens continuously during training and supervision. There is an evidence that at the very beginning of the supervisory relationship, the supervisor needs to emphasize the importance of self-reflection and to set an example to the supervisee. The importance of self-reflection can be underlined already in the establishment of a supervisory contract, during which the supervisor discusses with the supervised individual the motivation and expectations of supervision, as well as a regular daily homework. In order for supervisees to learn to self-reflect well, the supervisors themselves need to perform self-reflection. The more experienced the supervisee is, the more self-reflection they use in their supervision and openly talk about their experience during supervision. We can state that self-reflection is also a tool to understand transference and countertransference in both therapy and supervision. The importance of these issues has not been emphasized in cognitive behavioural therapy as much as in other therapeutic approaches. However, evidence shows, that self-reflection differentiates "great therapists" from "average therapists" and addressing these topics in an evidence-based way is necessary to improve the quality of therapeutic care.