Developing Counsellor Supervision


Colin Feltham & Windy Dryden

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  • Back Matter
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  • Part I: Creating a Supervisory Alliance

    Part II: Utilizing a Variety of Supervisory Foci and Methods

    Part III: Fostering and using the Supervisory Relationship

    Part IV: Using the Developmental Opportunities of Supervision

    Part V: Highlighting Supervisees' Strengths and Weaknesses

    Part VI: Protecting the Client and the Counsellor

  • About the Series

    Developing Counselling, edited by Windy Dryden, is an innovative series of books which provides counsellors and counselling trainees with practical hints and guidelines on the problems they face in the counselling process. The books assume that readers have a working knowledge of the approach in question, and, in a clear and accessible fashion show how the counsellor can more effectively translate that knowledge into everyday practice.

    Books in the series include:

    Developing the Practice of Counselling

    Windy Dryden and Colin Feltham

    Developing Counsellor Supervision

    Colin Feltham and Windy Dryden

    Developing Counsellor Training

    Windy Dryden and Colin Feltham

    Developing Person-Centred Counselling

    Dave Mearns

    Developing Psychodynamic Counselling

    Brendan McLoughlin


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    Like its companion volumes, this book is addressed primarily to those practitioners who have some experience in the field. However, it should also be of interest to counsellor trainees who have a need to know what is involved in supervision and to counsellors who may be intending to train as supervisors. As well as being aimed at beginning supervisors, we hope that experienced supervisors may find certain features of the book useful. We assume that readers come from a variety of theoretical persuasions, work in a great many settings and are exposed to a variety of influences and demands. We have addressed the book mainly to those engaged in one-to-one supervision of individual counselling but pointers may be extrapolated for group and peer supervision and for the supervision of couple and group counselling.

    Counsellor supervision has begun to receive close attention within the last few years. Although it has always been understood as an ethical and professional necessity for practising counsellors, supervision in Britain has not been researched, understood and presented on training courses as adequately as it might have been. Relatively little literature and training material has appeared here, although what has is stimulating (see for example, Mattinson, 1975; Inskipp and Proctor, 1989; Hawkins and Shohet, 1989). Since counsellor training in Britain still predominantly follows the historical influence of the psychoanalytic and person-centred traditions, what has been written and what is presented in supervision training often emulates these influences. We hope in this book to bring some balance from the eclectic, integrative and cognitive-behavioural orientations which have been steadily gaining ground in Britain.

    Comprehensive American accounts of supervision theory and practice may be found in Hess (1980); Bradley (1989); and Bernard and Goodyear (1992). An excellent concise account of the history of and research into supervision is given by Holloway (1992). It is our intention to present here a variety of practical approaches to supervision culled from different models of counselling, which readers may consider and use eclectically, as befits their own situation. We have included certain material as Appendices which we ourselves have found helpful as supervisors, and we have made a significant number of references to the supervision literature.

    It is important from the outset to give thought to the question of what supervision is and is not, and why it is viewed, for example by the British Association for Counselling, as a sine qua non of the practising counsellor's professional life. Unfortunately the term ‘supervision’ still carries connotations of managerial oversight and control, mistrust and coercion of the worker by an employer. This is, of course, a long way from its meaning in a counselling context, where it applies to a professional, consultative, supportive aid for counsellors. Although supervision does indeed have a rather sober ethical dimension, safeguarding clients from potential abuse by counsellors, it also aims to promote effective counselling by assisting counsellors in their professional development. From the training supervision of beginning counsellors through to the collegial consultation of experienced practitioners, supervision is dedicated to helping clients by helping their counsellors. Supervision is always, ultimately, focused on helping the client, even if this sometimes entails spending time examining counsellors' and supervisors' own feelings and interpersonal dynamics.

    One of the first lessons for supervisors to learn is to distinguish between supervision and counselling. Every supervisor must have a first session in the role of supervisor, which may be somewhat unnerving. There is no way of avoiding such experiences or making them easier, even when trainee supervisees may have role-played supervision sessions before actually commencing work as a supervisor. In some ways, then, supervision recapitulates the first-hand learning of beginning counsellors. Supervision can, however, feel at first like counselling at one remove, attempting to help the counsellor to help an initially distant client. The first steps in supervision can feel awkward as you try to become quickly accustomed to your new role in relation to the supervisee and in relation to the (now distant) client. Because of this natural awkwardness, it is understandable that many beginning supervisors may unwittingly find themselves counselling their supervisees. Another understandable faltering first step is to emulate one's own supervisors. We mention these experiences to underscore the fact that no training course or book can substitute for learning from direct and sometimes ‘painful’ experience in the ‘deep end’.

    We hope that this small book will assist in the development of counsellor supervision in its diverse settings, thus improving the services offered to clients. We anticipate that interesting trends within the counselling world, for example the provision of counselling in employee assistance programmes and GPs' surgeries, will generate demands for greater effectiveness and accountability, and that this will in turn place greater demands on supervisors and trainers.



    The authors would like to express their gratitude to the authors and publishers for permission to reprint the following:

    Appendix 1 Presenting a client for supervision. Ian Horton (1993) ‘Supervision’, in R. Bayne and P. Nicolson (eds) Counselling and Psychology for Health Professionals. London: Chapman and Hall. Reprinted by permission of Chapman and Hall.

    Appendix 2 BAC Code of Ethics and Practice for the Supervision of Counsellors (1988). Reprinted by permission of the British Association for Counselling.

    Appendix 3 Therapist intentions. C. Hill and K.E. O'Grady (1985) ‘List of therapist intentions illustrated in a case study and with therapists of varying theoretical orientations’. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32: 3–22. © 1985 Reprinted by permission of the American Psychological Association.

    Appendix 4 Competencies of supervisors. ACES Supervision Interest Network; AACD Convention (2 April 1985).

    Appendix 5 BAC Recognition of Supervisors details (1993). Reprinted by permission of the British Association for Counselling.

    Every effort has been made to trace all the copyright holders, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

  • Epilogue

    It is our hope that supervisors and intending supervisors will be able to benefit from the points made in this book and that it will serve as a series of discussion points. It is likely that, depending on your particular theoretical orientation, on your level of development as a supervisor, and so on, you will find some aspects more useful or relevant than others. If your ambition is to become an ‘all rounder’ as a supervisor, able to respond to the needs of a wide variety of counsellors, then perhaps every section of the book may help you to remind yourself of the range of goals and tasks involved in supervision. Remember, however, that few supervisors can be all things to all supervisees.

    With the increasing professionalization of counselling, we expect to see an increase in supervisor training courses and clearer statements about what levels of supervision are required by counsellors and by supervisors themselves. (The supervision of supervisors is an area we have not addressed substantially in the present book.) At the same time, we would add a caution about the pitfalls of professionalization. Not everyone agrees with the tendency for the development of counselling to be bureaucratically packaged into the specialisms of training, practice and supervision. There are a number of counsellors who are concerned that an increase in professionalization entails a decrease in respect for counselling activities which do not conform with recent standards and requirements. There is also justifiable concern that acknowledgement of the place of common sense, love, humour and serendipity in counselling and supervision is not made.

    We are aware that counselling and supervision can sometimes deteriorate into rather ritualistic activities. Since supervision is an activity that counsellors are obliged to engage in, there is a risk of it becoming, at times, a supervisory ritual offering minimal real learning. Because of this risk, we think it essential that supervisors and supervisees remain perpetually open to discussion and negotiation concerning the rationale and practice of supervision. One of our purposes in writing this book has in fact been to demystify supervision. Having said this, we welcome the publication of further texts and research on the subject and the establishment of excellent supervisor training courses. We also recommend that readers make themselves aware of the valuable ongoing work of the Standing Conference for the Advancement of Training and Supervision (SCATS).


    Presenting a Client for Supervision

    Presenting a client for supervision — some frameworks for supervision and case study.

    • Identification
      • A first name only. Gender. Age group/life stage.
      • Your first impressions, physical appearance.
    • Antecedents
      • Contact. How the client came to see you, e.g. self-referred.
      • Context/location, e.g. agency, private practice, hospital clinic.
      • Pre-contact information. What you knew about the client before you first met. How you used this information. Any existing relationship or previous contact with the client and possible implications.
    • Presenting Problem and Contract
      • Summary of the client's presenting problem.
      • Your initial assessment. Duration of problem. Precipitating factors (i.e. why the client came at this point). Current conflicts or issues.
      • Contract. Frequency, length and number of sessions. Initial plan.
    • Questions for Supervision
      • Key question(s) or issues you want to discuss in supervision.
    • Focus on Content
      • Client's account of problem situation.
        • Work — significant activity, interests. How client spends his/her time and energy.
        • Relationships — significant people, family and friends.
        • Identity — self-concept, feelings and attitudes about self.

          Additional related or explanatory elements might include client's past/early experiences; strengths and resources; beliefs and values; hopes, fears and fantasies. Possible implications of cultural, economic, social, political and other systems.

      • Problem definition — (a) Construct a picture of the client's view of the present scenario; (b) What is the client's preferred scenario? What would client like to happen? How would the client like things to be?
      • Assessment and reformulation — how you account for and explain the presenting problem.
        • Patterns/strands/themes/connections which emerge.
        • In what way are these things important to explore? What theoretical concepts/models or explanatory frameworks for assessment? What hunches, new perspectives?
        • What else, which has not been mentioned, might be important to explore? What silent hypotheses, blind spots? What underlying issues or past problems?
      • Counselling plan
        • What direction or focus for future work? What possibilities, agenda?
        • What criteria for change: theoretical frameworks and assumptions?
        • Review and/or formulate plan(s).
    • Focus on Process
      • Strategies and interventions
        • What strategies and interventions have you used?
        • What were you trying to achieve?
        • What was the effect on the client?
        • Generate alternative options.
      • Relationship
        • What was happening between you and the client? Describe relationship; reframe relationship; try a metaphor.
        • What was happening within the client (transference)?
        • What was happening within you (counter-transference)?
        • What changes within the developing relationship over the period being discussed?
        • Evaluate the ‘working alliance’.
      • Evaluation
        • Review process.
        • Consider alternative tasks, strategies and ways of implementing counselling plan(s).
    • Focus on Parallel Process
      • What was happening between you and the supervisor?
      • Any parallels. What thoughts, feelings, experiences? Does what was going on in the supervisory relationship tell you anything about what may have been going on between you and the client?
    • Critical Incident Analysis
      • Description
        • What did the client say or do at that particular point?
        • What did you say or do?
        • How did the client respond to your intervention?
        • What was happening within you?
      • Analysis
        • What was happening within the client?
        • What was going on between you and the client?
        • Intention and impact of interventions/responses.
        • What hunches/hypotheses did you/do you have?
        • Review. Any further/alternative perspectives, strategies and interventions.
    • Listening to Aspects of Covert Communication
      • What was happening within you? How well can you listen to your own emotional response to a client? You may be aware of your feelings first and thoughts later. Reflection on your emotional experience may help you gain information about what part of the client is likely to be in need of change.

        A simple way of using yourself as a measuring instrument is to ask:

        • How does this client make me feel?
        • What did the client say and do so that I feel the way I do?
        • What does the client want from me and what sort of feeling is she or he trying to arouse in me to get it?
      • What was happening within the client?

        Different kinds of listening to pick up on whatever is live and poignant for the client at a particular moment. The emphasis is on aspects of covert experience, rather than on explicit content.

        You can learn to listen for/observe and reflect back when appropriate.

        • Changes in voice quality — which might indicate an inner focus on something that is being seen or felt differently.
        • Highly sensory/idiosyncratic words or phrases.
        • Aspects of content you don't actually understand — perhaps the client doesn't either.
        • Encoded statements — about other people or situations which may at some level be about the client with reformulations. For example, a client says: ‘It upset me to see the little dog was alone’. A reformulation might be: ‘Seeing the little dog gave you a sense of desolation and rejection. Something about loneliness worries you’.

          Reformulation to focus on the client can be practised almost as a game in supervision.

        • Indirect or disguised communication. Anything said about something out there may be about you and/or the counselling relationship. Use immediacy.
        • Non-verbal communication, e.g. silence, gazing into space, posture. Try a hunch about the client's inner experience.

    From: I. Horton, (1993) ‘Supervision’, in R. Bayne and P. Nicolson (eds), Counselling and Psychology for Health Professionals. London: Chapman and Hall.

    BAC Code of Ethics and Practice for the Supervision of Counsellors
    A Introduction
    • The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to establish standards for Supervisors in their supervision work with Counsellors, and to inform and protect Counsellors seeking supervision.
    • Ethical standards comprise such values as integrity, competence, confidentiality and responsibility.
    • This document should be seen in relation to the Code of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors. NB: The appropriate Code to be used by those involved in the supervision of trainees is the Code of Ethics & Practice for Trainers.
    • Members of this Association, in assenting to this Code, accept their responsibilities to counsellors and their clients, their agencies, to colleagues, and this Association.
    • There are various models of supervision. The Code applies to all supervision arrangements.

      The Code of Ethics has three sections:

      • The Nature of Supervision
      • Issues of Responsibility
      • Issues of Competence

      The Code of Practice has two sections:

      • The Management of the Supervision Work
      • Confidentiality

      The Appendix describes different models of Supervision, and comments on issues that may be relevant to particular models.

    B Code of Ethics
    B.1 The Nature of Supervision
    • The primary purpose of supervision is to ensure that the counsellor is addressing the needs of the client.
    • Supervision is a formal collaborative process. The term ‘supervision’ encompasses a number of functions concerned with monitoring, developing, and supporting individuals in their counselling role. (This process is sometimes known as ‘non-managerial supervision’ or ‘consultative support’.)
    • To this end supervision is concerned with:
      • the relationship between counsellor and client, to enhance its therapeutic effectiveness.
      • monitoring and supporting the counsellor in the counselling role.
      • the relationship between the counsellor and the supervisor, in order to enable the counsellor to develop his/her professional identity through reflection on the work, in the context of this relationship, which will be both critical and supportive.
      • clarifying the relationship between counsellor, client, supervisor, and (if any) the organisation(s) involved.
      • ensuring that ethical standards are maintained throughout the counselling work.
    • Supervision is therefore not primarily concerned with:
      • training
      • personal counselling of the counsellor
      • line management

        However, the skills associated with these activities are central to competent supervision.

    • The supervisory relationship must by its nature be confidential.
    • A counsellor should not work without regular supervision.
    B.2 Issues of responsibility
    • Given that the primary purpose of supervision is to ensure that the counsellor is addressing the needs of the client:

      • counsellors are responsible for their work with the client, and for presenting and exploring as honestly as possible that work with the supervisor.
      • Supervisors are responsible for helping counsellors reflect critically upon that work.

      It is important that both parties are able to work together effectively. (See C.2.1 to C.2.4.)

    • Supervisors are responsible with counsellors for ensuring that they make best use of the supervision time.
    • Supervisors and counsellors are both responsible for setting and maintaining clear boundaries between working relationships and friendships or other relationships, and making explicit the boundaries between supervision, consultancy, therapy and training.
    • Supervisors and counsellors must distinguish between supervising and counselling the counsellor. They would not normally expect to mix the two. On the rare occasions when the supervisor might engage in counselling with the counsellor, a clear contract must be negotiated, and any counselling done must not be at the expense of supervision time.
    • Supervisors are responsible for the observation of the principles embodied in this Code of Ethics & Practice for the Supervision of Counsellors, and the Code of Ethics & Practice for Counsellors.
    • Supervisors must recognise the value and dignity of counsellors as people, irrespective of origin, status, sex, sexual orientation, age, belief or contribution to society.
    • Supervisors are responsible for encouraging and facilitating the self-development of others, whilst also establishing clear working agreements which indicate the responsibility of counsellors for their own continued learning and self-monitoring.
    • Both are responsible for regularly reviewing the effectiveness of the supervision arrangement, and considering when it is appropriate to change it.
    • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the satisfaction of their own needs is not dependent upon the supervisory relationship, and they should not exploit this relationship.
    • The supervisor and counsellor should both consider their respective legal liabilities to each other, the employing organisation, if any, and the client.
    B.3 Issues of Competence
    • Supervisors should continually seek ways of increasing their own professional development, including, wherever possible, specific training in the development of supervision skills.
    • Supervisors must monitor their supervision work and be prepared to account to their counsellors and colleagues for the work they do.
    • Supervisors must monitor the limits of their competence.
    • Supervisors are strongly encouraged to make arrangements for their own consultancy and support to help them evaluate their supervision work.
    • Supervisors have a responsibility to monitor and maintain their own effectiveness. There may be a need to seek help and/or withdraw from the practice of supervision, whether temporarily or permanently.
    • Counsellors should consider carefully the implications of choosing a supervisor who is not a practising counsellor. This applies especially to inexperienced counsellors.
    C Code of Practice
    C.1 Introduction

    This Code of Practice is intended to give more specific information and guidance regarding the implementation of the principles embodied in the Code of Ethics for the Supervision of Counsellors.

    C.2 The Management of the Supervision Work

    In order to establish an effective supervision contract, the following points should be considered:

    • Supervisors should inform counsellors as appropriate about their own training, philosophy and theoretical approach, qualifications, and the methods they use.
    • Supervisors should be explicit regarding practical arrangements for supervision, paying particular regard to the length of contact time, the frequency of contact and the privacy of the venue.
    • Fees required should be arranged in advance.
    • Supervisors and counsellors should make explicit the expectations and requirements they have of each other, and each party should assess the value of working with the other.
    • Before embarking on a supervision contract, supervisors should ascertain what, if any, therapeutic or helping relationships the counsellor has had, or is currently engaged in. This is in order to establish any effect this may have on the counsellor's counselling work.
    • If, in the course of supervision, it appears that counselling or therapy would be beneficial to a counsellor, the supervisor should discuss the issue and, if appropriate, make a suitable referral to a third party or agency.
    • Supervisors should ensure that counsellors are given regular opportunities to discuss and evaluate their experiences of supervision.
    • Supervisors should regularly review how the counsellor engages in self-assessment and self-evaluation of their work.
    • Supervisors should ensure that counsellors understand the importance of further training experiences, and encourage the counsellor's professional development in this way.
    • Supervisors must ensure that counsellors are made aware of the distinction between counselling, accountability to management, consultancy, support, supervision and training.
    • Because there is a distinction between line management and counselling supervision, where a counsellor works in an organisation or agency, the lines of accountability and responsibility need to be clearly defined, between: counsellor/client; supervisor/counsellor; organisation/client; organisation/supervisor; organisation/counsellor; supervisor/client.
    • Supervisors who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to a counsellor and their obligation to an employing organisation will make explicit to the counsellor the nature of the loyalties and responsibilities involved.
    • Where personal disagreements cannot be resolved by discussion between supervisor and counsellor, the supervisor should consult with a fellow professional and, if appropriate, offer to refer the counsellor to another supervisor.
    • In addition to the routine self-monitoring of their work, supervisors are strongly encouraged to arrange for regular evaluation of their work by an appropriately experienced consultant.
    • Supervisors should, whenever possible, seek further training experience that is relevant to their supervision work.
    • Supervisors should take account of the limitations of their competence, and arrange consultations or referrals when appropriate.
    C.3 Confidentiality
    • As a general principle, supervisors must maintain confidentiality with regard to information about counsellors or clients, with the exceptions cited in C.3.2, C.3.3 and C.3.4.
    • Supervisors must not reveal confidential information concerning counsellors or clients to any other person or through any public medium unless:

      • it is clearly stated in the supervision contract that this is acceptable to both parties, or
      • when the supervisor considers it is necessary to prevent serious emotional or physical damage to the client.

      When the initial contract is being made, agreement about the people to whom a supervisor may speak must include the people on whom the supervisor relies for support, supervision or consultancy. There must also be clarity at this stage about the boundaries of confidentiality regarding people (other than the counsellor) to whom the supervisor may be accountable.

    • Confidentiality does not preclude the disclosure of confidential information relating to counsellors when relevant to the following:
      • recommendations concerning counsellors for professional purposes.
      • pursuit of disciplinary action involving counsellors in matters pertaining to ethical standards.
    • Information about specific counsellors may only be used for publication in journals or meetings with the counsellor's permission, and with anonymity preserved when the counsellor so specifies.
    • Discussion by supervisors of counsellors with professional colleagues should be purposeful and not trivialising.
    D Appendix
    D.1 Models of Supervision
    • There are different models of supervision. This appendix outlines the particular features of some of these models.
    • One-to-one: Supervisor-Counsellor:

      This involves a single supervisor providing supervision for one other counsellor, who is usually less experienced than themselves in counselling. This is still the most widely used method of supervision. Its long history means that most of the issues requiring the supervisor's and counsellor's consideration are well understood, and these are included within the Code of Practice above.

    • One-to-one: Co-supervision

      This involves two participants providing supervision for each other by alternating the roles of supervisor and counsellor. Typically, the time available for a supervision session is divided equally between them.

    • Group supervision with identified supervisor(s):

      There are a range of ways of providing this form of supervision. At one end of the spectrum the supervisor, acting as the leader, will take responsibility for apportioning the time between the counsellors, and then concentrating on the work of individuals in turn. At the other end of the range, the counsellors will allocate supervision time between themselves, using the supervisor as a technical resource. There are many different ways of working between these two alternatives.

    • Peer group supervision:

      This takes place when three or more counsellors share the responsibility for providing each others' supervision within a group context. Typically, they will consider themselves to be of broadly equal status, training and/or experience.

    • Eclectic methods of supervision:

      Some counsellors use combinations of the above models for their supervision.

    D.2 Points Requiring Additional Consideration
    • Certain models require the consideration of some of the points listed below, that are additional to the contents of the Code of Practice

    • All the points contained elsewhere within the Code of Practice should be considered.
    • Sufficient time must be allocated to each counsellor to ensure adequate supervision of the counselling work.
    • This method is unlikely to be suitable for newly trained or inexperienced counsellors, because of the importance of supervisors being experienced in counselling.
    • Care needs to be taken to develop an atmosphere conducive to sharing, questioning and challenging each others' practice in a constructive way.
    • As well as having a background in counselling work, supervisors should have appropriate groupwork experience in order to facilitate this kind of group.
    • All the participants should have sufficient groupwork experience to be able to engage the group process in ways in which facilitate effective supervision.
    • Explicit consideration should be given to deciding who is responsible for providing the supervision, and how the task of supervision will be carried out.
    • It is desirable that these groups are visited from time to time by a consultant to observe the group process and monitor the quality of the supervision.

    British Association for Counselling, 1988. Reproduced with permission.

    All BAC Codes of Ethics are subject to change at each year's Annual General Meeting. Details of current Codes of Practice should be confirmed with the British Association for Counselling.

    Therapist Intentions
    • To set limits or make arrangements: To structure, establish goals and objectives of treatment, outline methods to attain goals, correct expectations about treatment, or establish rules or parameters of relationship (e.g., time, length, fees, cancellation policies, homework, content, etc.).
    • To gather information: To find out specific facts about history, client functioning, future plans etc.
    • To give information: To educate, give facts, correct mis-perceptions or misinformation, give reasons for therapist's behaviour or procedures.
    • To support and build rapport: To provide a warm, supportive, empathic environment; to increase trust and rapport and build relationship, to help client feel accepted, understood, supported, comfortable, reassured, and less anxious: to help establish a person-to-person relationship.
    • To focus: To help client focus, get back on track, change subject, channel or structure the discussion if he/she is unable to begin or if he/she has been diffuse, rambling, or shifting topics.
    • To clarify: To provide or solicit more elaboration, emphasis, or specification when client or therapist has been vague, incomplete, confusing, contradictory, or inaudible.
    • To instill hope: To convey the expectation that change is possible and likely to occur; that the therapist will be able to help the client; to restore morale; to build up the client's confidence to make changes.
    • To promote relief from tension or unhappy feelings: To allow the client a chance to cathart, let go, or talk through feelings and problems.
    • To identify maladaptive cognitions: To point out illogical or irrational thoughts or attitudes (e.g., ‘I must be perfect’ etc.).
    • To identify maladaptive behaviours: To give feedback about the client's inappropriate behaviour and/or its consequences; to do a behavioural analysis; to point out games.
    • To encourage a sense of self-control: To help the client own or gain a sense of mastery or control over his/her own thoughts, feelings, behaviours, or impulses; to help become more appropriately internal rather than inappropriately external in taking responsibility for one's role.
    • To identify, intensify, and/or enable acceptance of feelings: To encourage or provoke the client to become aware of or deepen underlying or hidden feelings or affect or to experience feelings at a deeper level.
    • To stimulate insight: To encourage understanding of the underlying reasons, dynamics, assumptions, or unconscious motivations for cognitions, behaviours, attitudes or feelings. May include an understanding of the client's reactions to others' behaviours.
    • To build more appropriate behaviours or cognitions: To help develop new and more adaptive skills, behaviours, or cognitions to inculcate new ways of dealing with self and others. May be to instill new, more adaptive assumptive models, frameworks, explanations or conceptualisations. May be to give an assessment, or opinion about client functioning that will help client see self in a new way.
    • To reinforce change attempts: To give positive reinforcement of feedback about behavioural, cognitive, or affective attempts at change in order to enhance the probability that the change will be continued or maintained; to encourage risk-taking and new ways of behaving.
    • To overcome obstacles to change: To analyze lack of progress, resistance, or failure to adhere to therapeutic procedures, either past or possibilities of relapse in future.
    • To challenge: To jolt the client out of a present state; to shake up current beliefs or feelings; to test validity; adequacy, reality, or appropriateness of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, or behaviours; to help client question the necessity of maintaining old patterns.
    • To resolve problems in the therapeutic relationship: To deal with issues as they arise in the relationship in order to build or maintain a smooth working alliance; to heal ruptures in the alliance; to deal with dependency issues appropriate to stage in treatment; to uncover and resolve distortions in clients thinking about the relationship which are based on past experiences rather than current reality.
    • To relieve therapist: To protect or defend the therapist, to take care of the therapist's needs; to alleviate anxiety; to try unduly to persuade, argue, or feel good or superior at the expense of the client.

    From: C. Hill and K.E. O'Grady (1985) ‘List of therapist intentions illustrated in a case study and with therapists of varying theoretical orientations’, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 32: 3–22.

    Competencies of Supervisors

    This list of supervision competencies was adopted by the ACES Supervision Interest Network (C.E. VanZandt, Chair), at the AACD Convention, New York, April 2, 1985

    From: L.D. Borders and G.R. Leddick (1987) Handbook of Counseling Supervision. Alexandria, VA: Association for Counselor Education and Supervision

    BAC Recognition of Supervisors Details
    Criteria for the Recognition of Supervisors

    The successful applicant will be one who:

    • Is either a BAC Accredited counsellor or has training and experience appropriate to that standard.
    • Has had training in supervision, either by attending an appropriate course or by having had training from an experienced supervisor.
    • Has had at least 100 hours of supervision experience over a period of not less than two years with a minimum of four individual supervisees and one group.
    • Has a philosophy of supervision which integrates training, experience and practice. Evidence of theoretical knowledge should be demonstrated.
    • Has regular access to a supervisory consultant or group for their supervisory work.
    • Demonstrates practice which adheres to the BAC Code of Ethics & Practice for the Supervision of Counsellors and undertakes to continue working under this Code.
    • Demonstrates the ability to work with the triangular relationship specific to counselling supervision.
    • Is a current individual member of BAC.

      Applicants are required to give evidence of the above in the form of a written application, a presentation of a piece of their own supervision of a counsellor; and to take part in a Recognition Day which will include giving and receiving live supervision, and discussion of both written and live material with assessors.

      Assessors will be looking for congruence between all parts of the application as well as checking that the above criteria are being met.

    Recognition Procedure

    Applicants will be required to provide the following material:

    • A completed application form.
    • A presentation of a piece of their supervision preferably of an individual counsellor, including reactions of the supervisee. This can be in the form of either:
      • A written verbatim of a supervision session, with process commentary.
      • A tape (not exceeding 45 minutes in length), with a written process commentary.
      • A video (not exceeding 45 minutes in length), with a written process commentary.
    • A description of their aims and methods, including an account of their philosophical and psychological understanding of supervision, normally expected to be 1500–2000 words.
    The Recognition Process
    • The application, together with the comments of the consultant/supervisor will be shared with the assessors. All the assessors are supervisors recognised by BAC.
    • The application will initially be sent to an assessor and a preliminary assessment made of the material presented. Providing that, in the opinion of the assessor, the material in the application initially appears to meet the criteria, the applicant will be invited to attend an assessment day. An agreement from the preliminary assessor, does NOT guarantee that the applicant will receive recognition. Applicants whose material does not meet the criteria will be informed of the discrepancies and given guidance about what is required additionally.
    • On the Recognition Day, applicants will take part in a live assessment of their supervision where they will normally, though not always, be supervising each other. It is important to be aware that supervisees will all be experienced counsellors. Applicants should bring a piece of current counselling work on which they will be supervised by one of the peer group being assessed. Applicants will then be interviewed by their assessor when they will have an opportunity to discuss both their live presentation and their submitted material.
    • The live work is assessed on both the openness to receiving supervision as well as giving it. However, the live work is not rated more highly than the written and recorded material. The assessors will be looking for congruence between the written material and the live presentation.
    • The recognition is for ten years after which time you will be invited to participate in whatever renewal procedure is in operation.
    • Applicants may supervise experienced candidates who may not be the same orientation as themselves.

    British Association for Counselling, 1993.

    Reproduced with permission.


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