What is Supervision?
The BACP’s ethical framework defines supervision as:
"A specialised form of mentoring provided for practitioners responsible for undertaking challenging work with people. Supervision is provided to ensure standards, enhance quality, advance learning, stimulate creativity, and support the sustainability and resilience of the work being undertaken."
What can I offer as a Supervisor?
Supervision offers security and understanding - a reflective, safe space.
I see my role as supervisor to be: gatekeeper, observer, container, and inquisitor. In being curious with my supervisees about themselves in relation to their clients, asking who they are; being interested in their values and beliefs and how that impacts on their approach; we will be constantly reviewing and learning. The outcomes of supervision should be personal growth, change and new ways of thinking enabling continual development in practitioner/client relationships through greater insights into our self and our work.
Sessions would allow my access to the client’s world through observation and analysis thus allowing a greater insight into the wider context of the client/counsellor relationship. I hope that whilst the clients of my supervisees remain at the forefront of the work, my supervisees must feel held and supported too. I endeavour to maintain a balance of support and management and be ever mindful of the difficulties/barriers which may arise.
Supervision should not feel punitive or judgmental; it is a process established from a position of goodwill which facilitates development. It requires exploration and evaluation, using a therapeutic approach, with a focus on behaviour, intent and action rather than the person. There must be a spectrum of autonomy with both parties being aware of their own responsibility for disclosure and response.
Ethics in Supervision
Underpinning all effective supervision should be the core conditions - unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. I would hope to model honesty and realness, with the intention that the supervisee would feel accepted and be able to show themselves in return. We can be ourselves.
It is clear that counsellors and supervisors cannot be all things to all people but having knowledge of our own moral code and frame of reference enables us to become more accepting of ourselves and where we sit in life and why. This is key to acknowledging that there may be alternative viewpoints, which, although different than our own, are no less valid. “Our” reality does not make it “the” reality. It is vital that we are able to set our own moral compass aside and navigate a way through our supervisees experience and ultimately with them, through that of their clients.