What is Supervision?
Supervision is a formal activity during which a supervisor and practitioner work together to help that practitioner provide a safe, ethical and effective service to his or her client. BACP states that supervision ‘is provided to ensure standards, enhance quality, advance learning, stimulate creativity, and support the sustainability and resilience of the work being undertaken’. Supervision is based on honest and open discussion. It does not involve ‘checking up’ on the practitioner. However, a supervisor will have an overview of the practitioner’s work to make sure clients are safe and have the best possible service, particularly when working with trainees and newly qualified practitioners. As supervision is an ethical requirement for all practitioners, having supervision does not necessarily mean that a practitioner is not qualified or lacks experience.
Who should have supervision?
BACP recommends supervision for ‘anyone providing therapeutically-based services, working in roles that require regularly giving or receiving emotionally challenging communications, or engaging in relationally complex and challenging roles’ These roles may include (but are not limited to) counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor, coach, pastoral care worker, trainer, educator, researcher and anyone who manages them. A practitioner acting in such a role and who is a BACP member or registrant, will have made an ethical commitment (promise) to take part in regular and continuous supervision.
How much supervision should I have?
BACP do not specify how many hours of supervision all members should have as different members will have different needs. You should have sufficient supervision to allow all aspects of your work to be discussed as necessary, and to enable you to develop a constructive relationship with your supervisor.
The only exceptions are:
- Students and members who want the hours to count towards accreditation – now or in the future – must have a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision a month.
- Accredited and Senior Accredited Members who are seeing clients must have a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision a month.
Students on placements as part of a BACP-accredited course must have:
- one hour of supervision for every eight hours of client work
- a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision a month
- supervision at least every two weeks
If you receive group supervision, the amount of time you can record for accreditation depends on the number of people contracted to the group. The rule is:
- For groups of up to four – half the time allotted
(so for two hours of supervision each member can claim one hour)
- For groups of more than four – divide the amount of time by the number of people
(so for two hours of supervision, a group of six can claim 20 minutes each)
Source 2016 British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy