Hiya. I believe that supervision is essential, especially for therapists.
Let me tell you why.
I’m a hypnotherapist, counsellor, coach and supervisor, and today, I would like to provide you with five compelling reasons why therapists and clients need supervision.
Did you know that professional counsellors, hypnotherapists, coaches and many other therapists have supervision?
Let’s start by considering who else supervises, as it’s not limited to therapists.
Many other professionals also have supervision, like solicitors, managers, and healthcare professionals, because, just like therapists, it’s part of the job.
If you are new to therapy work or struggle to find the value in supervision, this blog will answer your questions. The focus is primarily on therapy, but many reasons for supervision discussed below also apply to other supervisory arrangements, such as supervision in another job.
Alternatively, you might be a member of the public who is curious as to why your therapist has supervision.
What is supervision?
Supervision is challenging to define as it varies slightly from profession to profession. However, here is one definition that encompasses the core of supervision.
…supervision is a process of professional learning and development that enables individuals to reflect on and develop their knowledge, skills, and competence, through agreed and regular support with another professional. (Health and Care Professionals Council).
Supervision is a process where at least two people come together to discuss work and cases. Particularly in counselling and other talking therapies, it includes lots of personal reflection by the supervisee.
The supervisor is usually trained to provide supervision and uses research-based models of supervision to ensure all aspects of the client’s care and supervision are covered.
What is the purpose of supervision?
The aim is to improve practice, to check that nothing significant has been omitted and that the practice meets industry standards and the law.
Personal reflection is considered vital in the therapy world.
So, supervision is an integral part of therapy for the client and the practitioner.
Why do therapists need supervision?
Practitioners require supervision because they should, and in many cases, must have supervision to practice. Furthermore, their professional bodies need it.
For an individual practitioner they need supervision to develop and feel supported.
Ultimately, supervision is to ensure clients get a good service.
How much supervision do therapists need?
The amount will vary according to experience and the requirements of the professional body that the therapist belongs to.
For example, counsellors working in full-time practice in the UK are usually expected to have 1.5 hours of supervision per month.
It is common for hypnotherapists and therapists such as Reiki practitioners to have an hour a month. However, experienced therapists might have less supervision.
How is confidentiality maintained?
A contract is drawn up between the supervisor and the practitioner so both parties know what is required and agree to work within professional boundaries. This includes maintaining confidentiality.
Why is supervision necessary?
There are several compelling reasons why supervision is essential for the client, the therapist and the profession.
1. Maintains standards
In the UK, hypnotherapy training is based on standards. Supervision helps people maintain ethical standards, deal with ethical dilemmas, and check that the practitioner complies with the law. Topics such as confidentiality, professional boundaries, and informed consent may be discussed.
Clients who use therapists want this, so someone with supervision will discuss these areas, reducing the risk of malpractice.
2. Improves practice
Supervision enhances clinical competence and skills. Like all good professionals, therapists want to give the best service possible. In supervision, they can share difficulties and celebrate good practice. Their supervisor may provide new information, direct them to further continuing professional development and offer support.
For example, the supervisor may explore cultural issues, disabilities or relationship dynamics.
This feels right as therapists want to improve and learn more to do a good job and get recommendations. This is important for therapists in private practice as their business depends on good practice.
Clients want to feel that someone is treating them with up-to-date knowledge and skills. It may also be comforting to know that the therapist’s approach might get challenged or new ideas discussed.
The client’s name and identifying features would not be discussed in supervision to maintain confidentiality.
3. Provides emotional support for the therapist
Listening to and dealing with many clients with physical and emotional trauma can be very draining for the therapist. Talking things through helps them to destress and let go because continuing stress from clients can take a toll on the health and well-being of therapists.
Supervision, therefore, helps to prevent burnout and encourages self-care.
4. Assesses risk
Risk management is vital in many jobs, and it certainly applies to therapists because people express severe emotions sometimes and talk of suicide. Therapists need to manage these situations carefully so a supervisor can assist.
Risks can also be assessed between the therapist and client as a client may impact the therapist somehow. For example, a client may remind the therapist of a member of the therapist’s family who has died.
Some clients may express risks of harm from someone else, like their partner abusing them. The severity needs to be assessed here to help the person correctly.
5. Improves accountability and feedback
Therapists need to know when they are working well or not. Supervisors give constructive feedback and encourage the supervisees to reflect on their practice. They need to have someone who they are accountable to to ensure good practice.
Accountability is also valuable to the profession as more people practice correctly, so the profession is considered a quality service.
This extra checking and taking responsibility is also good for the client.
All therapists need to record the amount of supervision they are receiving as this may be checked by their professional body or used if a practitioner is taken to court.
Finally, as a supervisor and therapist, I know supervision is valuable for many reasons. I provide one-to-one supervision and small-group supervision for hypnotherapists and counsellors. Most supervision is carried out online via Zoom. For more information, visit my website, www.awakenthechange.com or book a free initial consultation and find out more.