What is supervision in counselling?

According to the British Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling (BACP) supervision is considered as “a specialised form of professional mentoring provided for practitioners responsible for undertaking challenging work with people.”

It is a type of personal relationship, which at times is called the ‘supervisory alliance,’ that exists between one counsellor and another. The ‘supervisor’ may not be present in the room whilst the counsellor is seeing their client, but rather offers guidance and assistance ‘by proxy’.


How many types of supervision exist?

There are several types of supervision, ranging from one-to-one supervision, where an individual supervisor offers supervision to another counsellor to group supervision, where a delegated supervisor acts as a leader, taking charge for dividing time evenly between counsellors, whilst concentrating on the input of each in turn.

Also, there is peer supervision, where two members provide supervision for each other, by shifting the role of supervisor and counsellor. Peer supervision also exists within a group context.


Why supervision has so much importance?

There are several motives as to why supervision is supposed to be an indispensable part of a counsellor’s ongoing practice. Counselling is by its very nature a ‘solitary’ job that can mean little interaction with others outside of the clients themselves.

Hence, it can be difficult at times to observe and track progress and stop oneself from going into ‘bad habits.’ Supervision grants a space for counsellors to accurately accept and challenge any blind spots in their practice, defeat biases and think about how they might better manage situations in the future.

It supports normal, ongoing reflection to assure that counsellors continue operating in a decent, safe and competent manner. Hence it is necessary to have external input as this will help you become one of the best psychotherapists in London.

What do you address in counselling supervision?

Counselling is very fragile in nature and so the content of supervision sessions can be different.

Some supervisors favour a more structured strategy and require supervisees to come up with detailed notes on specific clients, whilst others prefer to address concerns within the session.


How much supervision should a counsellor have?

This can depend on the experience a counselling or psychotherapist has. A psychotherapist in London will most likely see more clients than a therapist in the countryside. A higher turnover would therefore promote more regular supervision sessions.

Yet, most counsellors will also be governed by whatever their regulatory framework recommends, for instance, the BACP state that Accredited Members should have a “Minimum of 1.5 hours supervision per calendar month regardless of the number of contracted clients.”

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