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Supervision of supervision (SOS) refers to the process of clinical supervision where a clinical supervisor seeks out assistance or support from a more experienced clinical supervisor. SOS provides another layer of support and protection to one’s psychotherapy practice.

For those of you who don’t know me I’ll introduce myself here: Hi I’m Pauline O’Brien and I’m a registered psychotherapist in Ontario and an educator in counselling psychology. I’m a clinical supervisor and supervisor for supervisors. For more about me visit:

For more than two decades I have been teaching and supervising counsellors and psychotherapists. I’ve worked in a variety of settings with a variety of presenting issues. What I have noticed over the years is that my clients do not ‘fit’ into traditional services. They often fall through the cracks because of gaps in services and they require more than what is presently provided. The pandemic has greatly impacted my clients and I have felt called to action. We’ve experienced a shift in our work in recent years and it has left me to reflect on where I fit in all of this.

They don’t call it SOS for no reason!!! WE NEED HELP!!!

During the pandemic I started doing more research into clinical supervision for supervision in hopes of creating empowered learning opportunities for counsellor/therapist clinical supervisors. I noticed that in my community there was a mass influx of new therapists in the field and that combined with the realization that there was a lack of support, I felt empowered to support the community. I’ve noticed similar impacts both provincially and nationally.

We’ve been harmed: As a postmodern therapist I value the story. I am a creative type, but I am also a listener. I have been told that I have a curiosity about my practice and that people feel disarmed to tell me the real truth. As a result, I have heard oh! so many stories about what it is that we are doing here. I have had the opportunity to bear witness to the strengths and successes in our field. I have also heard of the challenges. In the midst of these stories of harmful practice and harmful supervision I felt called to action.

Did you know there’s a course for that? In 2022 I created “The Empowered Supervisor: Supporting mental health providers in a post-pandemic world” a 36 hour training program in clinical supervision. A course that meets requirements for course work in clinical supervision in Ontario and BC. As of today I have trained over 50 supervisors across Canada and hope to be able to continue to offer this opportunity in the new year (check out the course website: for dates and to register).

You asked and so I answered. From this training program I received feedback that there is still a need for more individual support. I am happy to announce that I am opening some spots for individualized support. You may have taken a course in clinical supervision and still have questions. You may be supervising new interns and/or colleagues for the first time and need ongoing support. Whatever your scenario I am here to help. My philosophical approach to supervision is strengths-based and post-modern. I believe that you already possess the skills and abilities to supervise, and I also believe that we cannot do it alone. I am also in the continual process of decolonizing and politicizing my practice. What we are doing is now more political than ever. I can help you support others in ways that are more consistent with your values and ethics. I am here to listen and to support. My hope is to empower you to do the same in your own community. If you want to know more about how to work with me visit:

This week I discuss the concept of postmodernism and how this approach bodes well with "complex or dug-in" clients. Watch the video to understand why I use air quotes when describing this population.

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