For those of us who are privileged to work in the wonderful world of talking therapy, such as hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy, clinical supervision is a necessity. In these fields, supervision isn’t about hierarchy or line management as it is in other industries; it’s about professional support and professional growth. Supervision is a developmental process that helps therapists to build their therapeutic skills and confidence as well as ensuring that they are working safely for the benefit of their clients as well as themselves.
For new therapists, supervision provides a safe, structured environment where they can debrief and discuss difficult cases with a qualified supervisor who will have greater professional experience than them. The supervisor will encourage their supervisees to reflect on cases and discuss their ideas, possible techniques and therapy options for clients. If the therapist is really stuck, their supervisor can offer mentoring, which may include suggestions or advice on additional training requirements.
A supervisor can offer advice where safeguarding issues may be a concern to the therapist and they will also be on the lookout for compassion fatigue or burnout in their supervisees. The role of the supervisor is to promote the safety and psychological wellbeing of the therapist and their clients and two of the most important outcomes of this process are helping the therapist to enhance the therapeutic experience for clients and their own self-development.
Supervision needs to be a regular commitment. A supervisor needs to know the therapist and how they work in order to offer the best support, so a contract with a supervisor needs to be agreed. For the first three years after training it is an NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy) requirement that therapists participate in supervision from an NCH qualified solution-focused supervisor. After three years or 300 hours in practice, therapists can choose a supervisor from their peer group.
Sessions of supervision can be conducted one-to-one or in a group, and sessions are often held monthly. Choosing to attend one-to-one sessions or group sessions is a personal choice and there are advantages to both. It can be beneficial to share with, or learn from, colleagues, both for newly qualified and experienced therapists. One to sessions offer a more personal approach focused solely on the individual therapist’s needs and this can be more comfortable if personal issues have been triggered by clients. Many supervisors offer both options to supervisees.
A supervisor may conduct sessions face-to-face, on the phone or using a platform such as Zoom, which is becoming increasingly popular. Whilst clinical supervision is required to maintain membership of most professional associations, it shouldn’t be seen as a necessary chore, rather as a really important and valuable part of being a therapist which will lead to greater successes within a clinical practice.
If you're a qualified therapist and not undertaking supervision, I'm offering both group and individual sessions. Get in touch to find out more.
© Lorraine McReight