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 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. Some counsellors also use group supervision, in which several therapists confer on each other’s work, although ordinarily this is used in addition to individual supervision, rather than as a replacement.
Who needs clinical supervision?
All counsellors and psychotherapists, regardless of experience, need supervision in our opinion. Not only do most professional bodies in the UK such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy require supervision, but it is also seen by many as an ethical imperative. A client who encounters a therapist working without supervision should probably consider carefully whether they wish to work with that therapist.
Why is counselling clinical supervision needed?
To both protect clients, and 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 to reflect on how they relate to the client, as well as to garner insights from the perspective of another therapist, also help the counsellor to improve the value they are providing to their clients.