Clinical Supervision

Supervision - Pontresina, Grisons, Switzerland on the way to Corwatsch on a misty morning.

Supervision in counselling

The Care Quality Commission (CQC, 2013) describes three distinct types of supervision: managerial, clinical and professional, and recognises that they often overlap. Counselling supervision includes elements of each of the above. It provides an opportunity for counsellors to:

  • reflect on and review all aspects of their practice
  • discuss individual cases in depth
  • review, change or adapt their practice to improve their effectiveness
  • review professional standards and best practice guidelines
  • keep up to date with developments in the profession
  • ensure they are working ethically, within their competency, code of conduct and professional boundaries
  • identify training and professional development needs
  • practice self-care and manage their work-load
  • manage the impact of client trauma on their mental health and well-being

Counselling supervision seeks to provide a safe and confidential space in which counsellors can reflect and discuss all aspects of their practice, without breaching client confidentiality. It also allows them to reflect on the impact of their work on their personal and professional lives (and vice versa).

Best practice

All our counsellors undertake regular supervision following the highest professional standards. While counsellors may discuss specific client issues in supervision, they would not identify the clients concerned. All supervisors are highly experienced counsellors bound by professional ethics. As a result, we can assure clients that we will preserve their confidentiality.

While there is some overlap between clinical and managerial supervision, best practice suggests that the roles are kept separate. All of our counsellors have independent oversight, using supervisors external to our organisation. Using external supervisors helps ensure that the two functions are appropriately isolated.

Our services

Many of our counsellors are themselves supervisors, and we can provide supervision to other practitioners. Most commonly, this would be one-to-one, but we would consider facilitating small groups on request. While most of our supervisees are fellow counsellors (or counselling students), we also offer supervision to people in other related professions—for example, coaches, mentors and support workers.

Be Creative Graphic - Creative Supervision
There are several different models of supervision in use today. One of the most common is Hawkins and Shohet’s Seven-Eyed Model, and this is the core model adopted by all our supervisors. However, we do offer flexibility and creativity in the approach used, adapting it to meet the need and preference of each supervisee. Some of the more creative methods we have used include sand-tray work, role play and creative writing.

Our overall aim is to provide supervisees with a safe, secure place where they can explore all aspects of their work. While there is an essential degree of oversight to ensure safe practice, we believe that it is more effective and useful to help counsellors reflect on and learn from mistakes (and we all make them) than to take a more punitive approach. We also aim to challenge and develop supervisees, helping them gain confidence and proficiency, especially in the early years of practice.

We provide clinical supervision on behalf of local organisations, as well as to individual practitioners, other professionals, and trainee counsellors. Our fees are the same as for our counselling services, although we would consider reduced rates for self-funding students and those in the first year of independent practice.

If you would like to know more about the services we can provide, please complete our contact form, email enquiries@counselling-matters.org.uk or call us on 0151 329 3637. We would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your needs.

Further reading

CQC (2013) Supporting information and guidance: Supporting effective clinical supervision. CQC.
Hawkins, P; McMahon, A. (2020) Supervision in the helping professions. McGraw-Hill Education.
Lahad, M. (2000) Creative Supervision: The Use of Expressive Arts Methods in Supervision and Self-Supervision. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Image courtesy of @howlingred16 and usplash.