The Recommended Aims and Principles of Supervisor Training

The aims of the supervisor training are to support the trainee in becoming competent at a number of different skills to allow him/her to provide effective clinical supervision for counsellors and talking therapists who work with a range of clients. These skills may include:

  • The use of a professional supervision framework which itself works within a legal and ethical framework
  • Being able to manage the therapeutic relationship and the counselling supervision relationship
  • Apply and supervise the application of a diversity understandings to the therapeutic process
  • Become familiar with and be able to effectively implement a user-centred approach to therapeutic counselling, including the ability to manage any supervisee’s need to manage client vulnerability
  • Ensure the application of personal awareness and understanding as well as developing self-reflection skills, both for themselves and able to support that process in supervisees

Page and Wosket (2001) outline 5 broad aims in reference to the BACP guidelines for accreditation of supervisors for their recommendations of supervisor training:

  1. To gain an understanding of various theories, models and approaches
  2. To develop and practice a range of interventions and feedback skills relevant to the functions of supervision. This entails creating the opportunity to experiment, make mistakes, test out a style and take risks
  3. To increase awareness of personal and professional strengths and areas for development
  4. To enable the supervisor to develop their own informed style and approach to supervision, integrating theory and practice
  5. To develop awareness of ethical and professional practice issues to enhance the professional identity of the supervisor and instil good standards and practice.

The principles of supervisor training include a focus on self-awareness, the development of authority, presence and impact, the teaching of skills in a lively way with a diverse range of engaging methods; provision of  opportunities to practice and receive feedback, use of ‘just in time’ and ‘real time’ learning. Supervisor training aims to offer tools to encourage an atmosphere of safety and enable intentional ‘play’ in supervision so that the supervisees’ concerns are non-judgementally explored, stuck feelings are released and necessary issues, addressed. (Hawkins & Shohet, 2006) (Henderson, P, 2009)

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