Professional Supervision for Psychological Therapists, Counsellors & Coaches
Individual and group supervision sessions can be arranged on request.
What is professional supervision?
Supervision for psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, counsellors and all those working in the field of psychological therapy, regardless of the particular modality or specialism that they practice, is a professional service and not a line management role. Rather than acting as a ‘boss’, the supervisor is an external and impartial professional with sufficient experience to be able to act as a mentor and guide who helps the practitioner to reflect on their personal feelings, professional practice, and receive valuable feedback for the benefit of their clients. Supervision is intended to ensure standards are met, to enhance quality, promote learning, stimulate creativity, and support the sustainability and resilience of the work being undertaken.
In some situations and settings, such as that of psychiatry, the line manager is also expected to provide a supervisory role as they are a consultant psychiatrist. However, this is not desirable as a line manager working within the same organization cannot provide completely independent and impartial supervision with no vested interest. If this cannot be avoided, then the tasks and roles need to be clearly defined and contracted for as separate activities.
Supervision is a formal process in which a qualified (or trainee whilst they are in the process of training) psychotherapist or counsellor regularly presents their client work to a designated or chosen supervisor as a way of enhancing their practice through careful reflection on the process.
The main purpose of supervision is to ensure the efficacy of the therapist’s practice which, in turn, will enable a therapist to work towards the best possible psychotherapy practice for their clients.
All reputable professional associations in the field of mental health require their members to adhere to a Code of Ethics, which includes their policies on professional supervision, e.g. who is acceptable as a supervisor, the structure and frequency of the supervision process, etc. All share the view of supervision as a contracted, professional relationship between two or more individuals engaged with counselling and/or psychotherapy activities, which leads to reflection on the professional services provided by the practitioner and provides emotional support, guidance, sometimes direct advice, and the setting of clear boundaries for the practitioner in their work.
How is supervision conducted?
Supervision is usually conducted one-to-one individually but may be in a group setting, sometime the practitioner may receive both individual and group supervision. The method of delivery can vary, it may be conducted face-to-face, by telephone, by internet, and, occasionally, in writing or by video. The supervisor will monitor the work in progress between the practitioner and their clients. The supervisory relationship and process of supervision are congruent with the developmental needs of the supervisee and the bottom line for the supervisor is that the supervisee is “fit to practice”, thus protecting the interests and well-being of both the clients and practitioner. It is important that the supervisor supports the practitioner to avoid the risk of “burnout”, something that is a potential risk in a very challenging field.
The frequency and nature of supervision required depends on the experience and length of time spent in professional practice and different professional associations have their own standards and requirements. A newly qualified practitioner is generally required to be in “differential supervision” for the first 5 years after beginning their professional practice. This means that their supervisor should be an experienced professional with at least 5 years of experience in the same modality as the practitioner. After that, in most modalities, the practitioner may engage in peer supervision, which means that they and another practitioner with at least the same amount of experience may conduct supervision with each other, taking it in turns to consider the other’s work and reports on their clients.
Examples of policies on supervision can be found on the websites of most professional associations, e.g.:
The National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors
The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy
If you are a client seeking a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist or counsellor you are entitled to ask them what their supervision arrangements are. Unfortunately, we have found that a number of therapists, including hypnotherapists, practising in the GCC region, especially those who are self-employed, do not receive professional supervision so it’s important to know that any professional you consult does have proper arrangements in place for their supervision.
DIPLOMA IN PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION
There are not many training programmes for therapists and counsellors who wish to become supervisors, especially in the field of hypnotherapy, and many supervisors have learned their skills from their own experience of supervision without completing any formal training. Some have completed a course of only a few hours or days. For this reason, Transformations Institute is currently in the process of preparing a UK-accredited Diploma in Professional Supervision that will provide a comprehensive training that will be suitable for therapists and counsellors and anyone who provides, or would like to provide, professional supervision to anyone working in a caring, pastoral or mental health role.
We will announce the details and dates for this course as soon as these are ready.