The Importance of Supervision in Psychotherapy
Good supervision offers psychological support which helps the therapist/counsellor process material that might be worked on in the therapeutic space with clients, this may promote the therapist/counsellor’s acceptance of their client and therefore improve the way that they communicate with them thus ensuring the therapeutic space as a safe place for both clients and therapist/counsellors to explore.
In an ethical context supervision is important in that it promotes professional practice and ethical behaviour, supervision provides an opportunity whereby an individual’s work is observed and where a client’s development is monitored in this way supervision also contributes to the self-regulatory process. As Corey, Corey and Callanan (2007: 360) suggest “professional competence is not attained once and for all. Being a competent professional demands not only continuing education but also a willingness to obtain periodic supervision when faced with ethical or clinical dilemmas”.
Supervision helps both experienced and less experienced counsellors in different ways. A supervisor can act as a mentor providing supervisees with emotional support and as an instructor helping supervisees with issues involved in their work. Inskipp and Proctor (2001:1) suggest supervision provides “A working alliance between the supervisor and the counsellor in which the counsellor can offer an account or recording of their work; reflect on it; receive feedback, and where appropriate guidance.”
More simply we can say that supervision evolves as a professional relationship between two or more people which cultivates a professional attitude and good practice. Supervision is essential in developing skills as a counsellor. Supervision goes beyond the client’s issues providing a process that appreciates the working frame of reference. Walborn (1996) maintains that the counsellor/therapist establishes a healthy and secure environment for the client. However it is equally important that the counsellor/therapist also feels safe and to a certain extent supervision facilitates this.