What is clinical supervision?
Clinical supervision is something that is a very important aspect of counselling to ensure that the counselling services offered are reaching a high potential. It is a formal meeting in which therapists can discuss their work on a regular basis. Sometimes this will include training or assessment components, it is not only a chance to gain a little more insight from a more experienced professional, but also an ethically important part of practising.
At the most basic of levels, supervision means to oversee another individual. This is of the supervisory process of counselling and is a requirement of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Working under supervision means that a counsellor or psychotherapist uses the services of another counsellor or psychotherapist to review their work with clients, their professional development, and often their personal development as well.-
Supervision is a professional service, rather than a managerial role, and for counsellors who work in institutions, supervision and management will normally be entirely separate. The supervisor acts not as a ‘boss’, but as a consultant.
Why is supervision necessary?
In the UK, supervision is regarded by most professionals as a necessity. Bodies such as BACP consider supervision to be essential, both to protect the clients and to improve the skills of counsellors, to make them better equipped to help their clients.
Supervision exists for two reasons:
- To protect clients
- To improve the ability of counsellors to provide value to their clients.
Supervision protects clients by involving an impartial third party in the work of a counsellor and client, helping to reduce the risk of serious oversight and helping the counsellor concerned to reflect on their own feelings, thoughts, behaviour and general approach with the client.
These opportunities will reflect how they can relate to the client, as well as to garner insights from the perspective of another therapist, also it helps the counsellor to improve the value they are providing for their clients.
Who needs supervision?
Any counsellor or psychotherapist, regardless of experience, need supervision. A client who encounters a therapist working without supervision should properly consider carefully whether they wish to work with that therapist.
What does supervision mean for confidentiality?
A practice of supervision means that many details provided by clients are shared with people other than the counsellor who is concerned. However, overall client confidentiality is still safeguarded because:
- Individually identifying information (such as a full name) is not revealed
- Information shared in supervision is itself protected under a contract of confidentiality and normally may not be shared outside the supervision relationship.
This ensures that the information can’t be traced back to the individual that it relates to, and that information will not go beyond the relationship, except in exceptional circumstances.
Choosing a supervisor
Having a great relationship with your supervisor is the key to success, when choosing a supervisor, consider the following things:
- The supervisor’s theoretical background and more professional training
- How long they have been practising (more recently registered therapists should look for more experienced supervisors)
- How personal and supportive you find them and their supervision is like
This will help you decide if they’re right for you.
I offer a free informal 20-minute session to see if I am the right person for a supervisor to work with, it’s vital that you get on with them and are able to explore the clients and get a safe place to enable you to grow as a counsellor.
I am a fully qualified Clinical Supervisor, if you would like to find out about my clinical supervision please contact me or if you would like to have a session with me click here to see the pricing list.