Practice Policy 1: Supervision

A. Definition of Supervision

Supervision is a contractual working alliance between the Supervisor and the Psychotherapist, in which the Psychotherapist can offer an account or recording of their work with Clients, reflect on it, receive feedback and where appropriate, guidance.

The primary purpose of supervision is to enable the Psychotherapist to gain and maintain an ethical competence, knowledge, skills, confidence and creativity so as to give their best possible service to the Clients, and to monitor good practice.

B. Contract

When arranging supervision, a contract needs to be made which clearly establishes the basis of the supervisory process and the boundaries of clinical and ethical responsibility. It is recommended the contract should be in writing and should include mention of the following categories:

a) Time, duration, place, frequency of meetings.

b) Access to supervision outside agreed hours.

c) Clarification of clinical and ethical responsibilities, including reference to the confidential nature of the work of supervision and the supervisory relationship.

d) Boundaries between supervision and other relationships, e.g. line management, personal psychotherapy and friendships.

e) Agreement between Supervisor and Psychotherapist about length of notice required in the event of termination of supervision contract.

f) Fees for supervision where relevant.

g) Cancellation notice required.

h) Agreement about arrangements for review of the process of supervision and for feedback between Supervisor and Psychotherapist.

C. Modes of Supervision

Supervision can take place:

a) Between one Psychotherapist and one supervisor.

b) Between one co-psychotherapy pair and one supervisor.

c) In groups with one or more supervisors

d) Live, using a one-way screen.

e) Peer case discussion.

Case material may be presented to the supervisor through the use of:

a) Face to face meetings

b) Electronically, using secure web cam, webinar, chat, or email.

c) By telephone

A regular review of the entire case load and practice profile can form part of the supervisory process, and can include consideration of the Psychotherapist’s future learning needs and Continuing Professional Development. (See CSRP Practice Policy 3.)

A procedure which might be useful in managing this review forms the Appendix to Practice Policy 3: Continuing Professional Development. The review would not be conducted by the regular supervisor but involve an independent person.

Supervision is likely to touch on the exploration of personal awareness and sexual attitudes, but should not become personal psychotherapy or counselling for the Psychotherapist.

D. The Supervisor

The Supervisor should be sufficiently experienced and competent in Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapy for others to have confidence in their professional skills, and ideally should be a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist and UKCP Registered Supervisor. A Supervisor of senior experienced Psychotherapists may either be competent and experienced in Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapy or work in a closely allied profession and have been working as a Practitioner in that profession for at least five years.

The Supervisor should be someone who:

a) Is able to understand and use the process of supervision.

b) Is committed to supervision and professional development of the Psychotherapist.

c) Has an appropriate balance of sensitivity, confidence and humility.

d) Can provide acceptance, empathy, genuineness and accurate communication.

e) Can deliver comment and feedback to the Psychotherapist in such a way that they feel safe enough to bring any relevant issue to the supervision.

f) Has experience of the psychotherapeutic treatment of sexual dysfunction and couple psychotherapy.

g) Can draw upon relevant clinical experience and knowledge of a wide range of theoretical models, thus being able to discuss with the Psychotherapist a range of alternative therapeutic strategies.

h) Has access to resources for consultation or supervision of their supervision.It is expected that Supervisors will keep their skills up to date by CPD

i) Preferably has undergone supervision training (see CSRP Supervision Training Standards)

E. The Supervisory Relationship

a) This must be a professional relationship where the likelihood of conflict of interest is minimised. A conflict of interest is not a difference of clinical opinion.

b) Supervision by intimate partners is deemed to be inappropriate.

c) Peer Supervision in pairs or groups must be formalised and regular.

F. Confidentiality

Supervisors must maintain confidentiality in respect of the Psychotherapist in line with the CSRP Code of Ethics and Practice.