“The supervisor is a companion in the supervisee’s exploration of the challenges they face in their journey with their clients.” - Elke Lambers (2013a, p.129)
Supervision provides regular confidential, individual, consultative support for counsellors (and other practitioners who work with vulnerable people) to review and reflect on their professional practice, its impact on them and to identify and consider responses to any developmental and ethical issues that may have arisen, or have the potential to arise, within the counsellor or practitioner’s work.
My training in supervision was facilitated by Elke Lambers and I believe that my approach continues to be consistent with her descriptions of person-centred supervision (e.g. Lambers, 2013a, 2013b).
As your supervisor, I will work with you actively and collaboratively as you reflect on your experience of the challenges that you encounter in your practice, supporting you to increase your awareness and understanding of yourself and your work. My aim is to develop a relationship with you in which you feel nurtured, stimulated, challenged and able to evaluate and make decisions about ethical issues as they arise within your practice.
As a person-centred counsellor with experience of being an accredited member of two different professional bodies (BACP, 2006-2021; COSCA, current), my knowledge and experience particularly lead me towards supervisory relationships with experienced and trainee counsellors working in the same or a related approach and within these ethical frameworks. However, I believe that the benefits arising from a person-centred approach to supervision are equally attractive to counsellors from other approaches and ethical frameworks, and to other practitioners who work with vulnerable people.
I offer all potential supervisees the opportunity to meet with me for an initial session, without charge, to explore whether we would like to work with each other.
At the heart of my work is my respect for you as an individual practitioner with a unique identity and life experience and in an ongoing process of developing your own style within the work that you do. I will recognise our difference in whatever form that this may take (eg age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability) and strive to understand you, your values, and your view of the world.
It is important to me to seek regular feedback from you about your experience of your supervision with me. I want us to be able to talk openly about the way that we are working together in order to make sure that your needs are being met.
The supervision that I provide is confidential and I will always seek to protect the details of our work. The only circumstances in which I would consider breaching confidentiality would be if there appears to me to be a genuine risk of serious harm to you or another person, or if required by the law. Should such an issue arise for me in the supervision of your work, I would seek to discuss my concerns with you first in order that you have an opportunity to address the issue as part of your own ethical responsibilities. I would also consult my own supervisor. I would not make a decision to breach your confidence lightly. In the rare event of breaking confidentiality only those persons who absolutely need to know will be informed.
- Record keeping
I keep brief and confidential records of my supervision work. These records are created, stored and destroyed in line with the data protection principles contained within the Data Protection Act. Should you wish to access your records, please ask me. I require one week’s notice to fulfil your request as my records are not stored at my counselling premises.
In line with COSCA's statement of Ethics and Code of Practice, I have regular and ongoing formal supervision of my supervision work. The purpose of supervision is to enable me to ensure that I am meeting my ethical responsibilities as a supervisor. Any aspect of our work that I take to supervision, I will present in a way that preserves your anonymity and will be treated confidentially by both my supervisor and myself.
Usually you will be seeking a supervision arrangement that enables you to meet a minimum requirement set by your professional association or training organisation. From my own experience, I have noticed that it is helpful to the process of developing an open and reflective supervision relationship to meet for a minimum of 1.5 hours when appointments are planned on a monthly, or less frequent, basis.
Please give me as much notice as possible should you need to cancel your appointment. If you give me less than 24 hours’ notice, then it will be necessary for me to charge you 50% of your usual session fee for the cancelled appointment. This fee should be paid to me at our next appointment.
If you miss an appointment I will contact you using the telephone number or email address that you have given me to find out if you would like to re-schedule. If I am unable to speak to you then I will leave a message for you (if you have given prior consent for me to do so). It is necessary for me to charge you the full session fee for a missed appointment. This fee should be paid to me at our next appointment.
I hope that your experience of supervision with me will support your ongoing development as a counsellor or other type of practitioner and enable you to meet the ethical responsibilities that you hold towards yourself and your clients. As a natural part of your growth, there will come a time for our supervision relationship to end. In most cases, I expect that this need for change will become clear to us through making time for the regular review of our relationship together.
I am committed to my ongoing professional development as a supervisor. This means that I am active in reflecting on, and learning from my experience of working with each of my supervisees. I carry out this process individually and also in regular confidential meetings with my own supervisor.
Lambers, E. (2013a). Supervision and relational depth: a companion on the journey. In R. Knox, D. Murphy, S. Wiggins & M. Cooper (Eds.) Relational depth: new perspectives and developments (pp.125-136). Palgrave Macmillan.
Lambers, E. (2013b). Supervision. In M. Cooper, M. O’Hara, P.F. Schmid & A.C. Bohart (Eds.) The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy & Counselling (pp.453-467). Palgrave Macmillan.