In the twenty years since EAC was founded there has been an expanding need for professionally Qualified Supervisors as increasing numbers of trainee counsellors enter the profession. There is always a need for absolute confidentiality between a counsellor and their client and this is an important area that needs to be understood by the counsellor under supervision. However, personal details shared in supervision sessions are in themselves protected by a confidentiality agreement and normally a counsellor will only use first names in discussing case notes.
Supervision is needed to help protect the client first and also to improve the ability of the counsellor to provide value for their clients.
What is counselling supervision?
Supervision must be looked on as a professional service and not a management role, with the supervisor not acting as boss but rather as a mentor that helps the counsellor to reflect on their own feelings and receive valuable feedback for the benefit of the client.
Definition of supervision
Supervision has been defined as “A working alliance between the supervisor and the counsellor in which the counsellor can offer an account or recording of their work; reflect on it; receive feedback, and where appropriate guidance.” (Inskipp and Proctor, 2001, p.1)
A more formal definition of Supervision is a contracted, professional relationship between two or more individuals engaged with counselling activities, which leads to reflection on the counselling situation and its structure while providing emotional support & advice, containment and the setting of clear boundaries for the counsellor and their counselling work.
The act of supervision itself involves an element of learning that includes the elucidation of the codes of ethics and practice. Both in and outside personal and group supervision sessions the supervisors will watch the work in progress between the counsellor and the client. The supervisory relationship and process of supervision are congruent with the developmental needs of the supervisee;
At all times during supervision the supervisor must check their own ethical boundaries and abilities.
Description of Counselling Supervision
Counselling Supervision should be one of enhancing the training and development and effectiveness of a counsellor in responding to the needs of their client by helping to develop five areas essential in a counsellor/client relationship
The counsellor working in their supervision relationship should seek to
- Become increasingly aware of their own responses generated by their counselling work
- Deepen their professional knowledge
- Continuously develop their counselling and therapy and professional skills
- Manage their caseload
- Review their professional practice
What does the Supervisor provide?
The supervisor offers a climate in which the supervisee can feel understood, supported and challenged as well as instructed and assisted in their counselling work. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to provide conditions that will help the supervisee to consider their experiences as subjects for reflection, elucidation and generating sources of knowledge.
akes place both during the training programme and after completion of the programme. An independent supervisor of their own choice then supervises the counsellor. However, the supervision offered by the training programme is evaluated along with the programme.
Models of Supervision
The following models of supervision will be adopted during the interim five-year period:
- One-to-one (supervisor-counsellor)
- Group supervision with counselling supervisor
- Combination of the above modes of supervision
- Peer supervision could be acceptable for accredited practitioners with 5 years post-accreditation experience. This would be subject to the requirements of the EAC Accrediting Organisation or the guidelines of individual modalities
is valuable but is not seen as the equivalent of one-to-one supervision.
It is preferable that the same person does not undertake supervisory and managerial responsibilities. If this cannot be avoided then the tasks and roles need to be clearly defined and contracted for.
Peer group support with clear aims and boundaries can enhance good counselling practice. However, this should not be used to replace supervision.
Ratio of counselling/supervision hours
The availability of supervisors and the understanding of the importance of supervision and supervision training are developing at different rates in different countries. Until an EAC requirement is decided please refer to your EAC Approved Accrediting Organisation for this requirement.
You can get a FREE copy of the EAC Professional Training, Accreditation and Ethical Charter by completing your name and primary email address in the registration box at the bottom of this page.
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