Standards of Education and Training for Supervisors


General Supervision Course Requirements

Supervision Courses must demonstrate the following:

  1. Adherence at all times to the CSRP Codes of Ethics and Practice.
  2. Clear philosophy and aims for the supervision course;
  3. A range of teaching methods appropriate to adult education and the teaching of individual, couple, and sexual and relationship psychotherapy supervision ideas and practice;
  4. A curriculum that reflects theory, practice and research in the fields of supervision of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy and is relevant to current practice in the public and voluntary sectors;
  5. A teaching staff, at least one of whom is either COSRT accredited, or eligible for accreditation with an appropriate professional body e.g. BACP, COSCA. Teaching qualifications to be declared as appropriate;
  6. Clearly described learning outcomes with appropriate stated methods of assessment in line with the CSRP or outcomes required by another, appropriate awarding body;
  7. Support and guidance in the development of a learning portfolio;
  8. Appropriate facilities including access to adequate library resources;
  9. Good course organisation and clear information for student supervisors. This should include information on criteria for selection and assessment, and guidelines for any practice requirement. Information should also be given concerning access to further levels of training;
  10. A fair and accessible complaints procedure with clear opportunities for an appeal process, together with a policy for supporting students who are having difficulties in successfully completing the course, taking into account current relevant legislation;
  11. The active promotion of anti-discriminatory practice throughout the teaching and organisation of the course, together with the implementation of an equal opportunity policy;
  12. Effective ways of gathering student feedback and evidence that it is taken into account to enable development of the supervision course;
  13. Appropriate management of clinical materials, relevant to supervision, as they relate to the course, e.g. supervision notes and tapes.

Suggested Curriculum

  1. Theories of Supervision

1.1 Models of supervision of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy that include some of the following, psychodynamic, humanistic, integrative, systemic, and cognitive behavioural therapy supervision. The models used in the course will have specific relevance to relationship therapies e.g. the Hawkins and Shohet process model.

  1. Knowledge Base

2.1 Current research based evidence for supervision of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy. 2.2 Integration of theories and models of supervision. 2.3 Diversity in supervision, implications of culture and religion and ethnicity on the process 2.4 Application of theories to individual and couple psychotherapy and/or application of theories to sexual and relationship psychotherapy 2.5 Links to medical resources and consultation (particularly for sexual and relationship psychotherapy supervisors) 2.6 Links to other special consultation applicable to the specific supervision course.

  1. Skills

3.1 Establishing a supervisory relationship, using observed practice and taped supervision sessions. 3.2 Develop supervisory style of course participants 3.3 Offer tutor and peer feedback of supervision skills practice 3.4 Students will address ethical dilemmas that arise in supervision skills practice and address ethical, boundary issues that may impinge on the supervision process. 3.5 Documentation of supervision sessions and supervision of supervision 3.6 Evaluate different settings of supervision: individual, peer, group, telephone, online, email. 3.7 Develop different models of delivery of supervision eg face to face; telephone; online.

  1. Context of Practice

4.1 Contracting in relation to the agency in which the supervisor will practice in and also within private practice, that has an effective cycle of accountability 4.2 Confidentiality and statutory issues in relation to supervision and the relevant agency and professional body requirements 4.3 Legal issues – moral and ethical responsibilities. 4.4 Supervisor Insurance of to meet agency and professional body requirements 4.5 Data protection 4.6 Complaints procedure and conflict resolution between all involved in the supervision process

Practical Course Requirements

The supervision course has the following functions:

  1. To introduce the student to the field of individuall, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy supervision and appropriate research;
  2. To introduce the student to the basic practice skills that can be applied to this work setting including assessment and self-reflection.

It is recognised that some courses will focus on a particular client group or approach. It is important that this depth of focus is complemented by a basic overview of the field.


Usually a relevant professional training or have achieved the equivalent in training and experience of working in a responsible role with people (in one of the recognised health or social care professions). This latter to be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the training body, recognising the educational value of prior certificated and experiential learning. Exemptions to this may be made at the discretion of the Course Director – but the validity of making such exemptions may be questioned subsequently at an approval visit.
A current supervisor reference. An opportunity to apply individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy supervision to a current work setting. Occasionally students may need to find other opportunities, perhaps on a placement basis. Courses should provide clear guidelines for students and placements concerning the requirement of such an arrangement.


Criteria for selection should be clear. Procedures should be designed to promote equal opportunities, and courses must have a policy for meeting the needs of students with disability. Applicants should be required to provide two references and state any sexual or criminal offences.


This can vary but could be 30-60 taught hours (e.g. followed by one year of supervision practitioner work so taking at least two years to complete). Eighty hours of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy supervision given over two years or more. At least forty of those hours should be devoted to sexual and relationship psychotherapy. The supervisor will work with two or more therapists or counsellors, supervision will usually be face to face work.

30-60 hours of study in direct teaching with course staff;

60-120 hours of independent study;

May commence providing clinical supervision;

Total 90-180 study hours + 80 hrs supervision given by the student supervisor

Supervision courses should facilitate opportunities, in a variety of formats for students to relate to their supervision practice

Individual supervision of supervision is suggested during the course and is recommended for up to fifty percent of the supervision of supervision hours. The remainder of the supervision of supervision hours can be experienced in a supervision of supervision group. The supervision group should have six members or less. CSRP recommend a minimum of one hour per month during training. In Year 1 at least ten individual supervision sessions are required and in Year 2 eight individual supervision sessions. If student supervisors increase the number of supervisees they work with they will require more supervision of supervision sessions.

This level of supervision of supervision has the central aim of providing a basic theoretical grounding in the supervision process and developing supervisory skills in relation to practice


  1. Group supervision of supervision should be encouraged, i.e. experience of working in a clinical supervision group within the context of the course. Students learn a great deal from observing and participating in the work and supervision of fellow student supervisees.
  2. Students should have the opportunity to experience a range of supervision methods, which could include live supervision, video review, and work on personal and professional development. We would expect in future practice supervisors will work with online and telephone supervision.

3 Personal and professional supervision development. This should be addressed in all domains of the course.

  1. Supervisors of students should have appropriate training in supervision.


At the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. A basic understanding of the supervision of individual, couple and sexual relationship psychotherapy;
  2. An ability to critically evaluate the supervision issues when working with the individual, relational and sexual issues in their client work;
  3. An ability to critically evaluate the theories and practice of supervision and their value;
  4. An ability to demonstrate an understanding of the range of supervision practice skills, which could be utilised in individual, couple and sexual and relationship therapy; and an ability to apply them in practice;
  5. An ability to explore the implications of ethical issues as seen in supervision in adherence to the Code of Ethics and Practice for Supervisors of the College for Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapy;
  6. An awareness of the impact on supervision of the wider social context especially in respect of race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability on the supervisor, and therapist, as well as the clients;
  7. A commitment to anti-discriminatory practice;
  8. A familiarity with a range of key literature relating to supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists working with clients with sexual and relationship difficulties;
  9. A basic familiarity with some aspects of research in the field of supervision;
  10. An appreciation of the need for clinical governance and/or management and organisational issues that influence supervision and the quality of service provision for clients.


Supervision courses will be required to demonstrate:

  1. How they evaluate and document the learning of student supervisors, this would include the provision of satisfactory supervisor’s reports on a regular basis defined by the course;
  2. How they assess the skill of student to provide competent supervision, for example via a taped submission;
  3. How students receive feedback from the assessment process;
  4. How students receive feedback from course staff, peers and from supervisors reports on the supervision of supervision;
  5. Support for students in meeting the requirements of the course handbook including the development of personal learning plans and a learning portfolio.

Supervision courses may choose to organise their assessments in a variety of ways but the assessment process should be based on the following principles:

a. Clear information for students on methods of assessment and what is being measured;

b. A mixture of summative assessment (i.e. assessment which measures attainment) and formative assessment (which allow feedback to students to help them improve their performance);

c. A clear and open marking system; moderated via the external examiner

d. Standards that ensure that supervision students are able to operate independently and provide sensitive, ethical and effective supervision of couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy;

e. An external examiner who has knowledge and experience of the field.


The assessment process could include:

a. Supervisors reports should be requested at regular periods throughout the course and a final report which describes the level of practice and makes clear recommendations about a student’s readiness for independent supervision practice:

b. Written and verbal presentation of supervision work;

c. The completion of a learning plans and a learning portfolio;

d. Documentation of all supervision work outside of the course.

Everyone involved in training supervisors of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapists recognises the complexity and responsibility of the task. The requirements set out in this paper are minimum standards designed to encourage courses to develop increasingly effective ways of training individuals to be effective colleagues and supervisors in a variety of practice settings. A detailed curriculum is not laid down, but suggested areas are offered and the supervision of individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy module curriculum should be agreed by CSRP. The course curriculum should provide the opportunity for students to reach the optimum required learning outcomes.

Suggested learning outcomes for supervision courses

The student will be able to demonstrate the following;

A comprehensive knowledge of relational models of supervision

A comprehension of the relevant interaction between biological, social and psychological factors and its application to the supervision process

Ability to formulate a relevant understanding of a supervision problem formulation and implement this with the supervisee

Understanding how supervision functions in the context of clinical teams and in relation to other agencies.

Ability to relate theory of supervision to individual, couple and sexual and relationship psychotherapy practice and understand the nature of this relationship.

Ability to critique own and others supervision work with supervisees accurately and with supporting evidence

Ability to evaluate own supervision needs and ongoing continuing learning and development needs

Ability to use theoretical and research knowledge to formulate hypotheses about the supervision issues, re the client relationship and the professional/referral system

Ability to use theoretical and research knowledge to utilise a range of supervision interventions

Ability to reflect upon own supervision practice and learning

Ability to give and receive appropriate feedback within the supervision group

Ability to use a reflective model to assess and develop supervision practice

Demonstrate actions and responsiveness to feedback from self and others in relation to supervision

Actively seek out resources to meet self-directed supervision learning needs

Utilise and contribute to group learning about the dimensions of the supervision process

Ability to analyse, assess and manage supervision problems and dilemmas

Ability to make presentations of the theory and practice of supervision work.

Communicate with due regard to current statutory supervision legislation

Ability to work within and utilise the group work opportunities of the course

Demonstrate an awareness of ethical dilemmas for supervisors, supervisees within the different organisational contexts

Maintain an up to date knowledge of the field of psychotherapy and sexual and relationship psychotherapy and the new therapeutic ideas