As discussed above, clinical supervision is essential to the professional formation of the psychotherapist. Qualifying members of the College and Registered Psychotherapists who have not yet completed 1000 direct client contact hours and 150 clinical supervision hours are required to practise with clinical supervision. In addition, members may practise with clinical supervision voluntarily, or may be required to do so by order of a College committee, e.g. Registration, Quality Assurance and Discipline Committees.
The College defines clinical supervision as a contractual relationship in which a clinical supervisor engages with a supervisee to discuss the direction of therapy and the therapeutic relationship; promote the professional growth of the supervisee; enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship; and safeguard the well-being of the client.
Responsibilities of supervisees
Members required to practise with clinical supervision participate meaningfully in such a way as to promote the purpose and effectiveness of clinical supervision.
Supervision hours should occur at regular intervals in relation to client contact hours. Determining “regular intervals” will depend on individual circumstances, as set out in the supervision agreement. It is not appropriate, however, to accumulate required clinical supervision hours over a short period of time, i.e. to clump them together; hours should be spaced out over time in relation to client contact hours. For example, unless clinical circumstances require more supervision, it is considered appropriate for Qualifying members to obtain one clinical supervision hour per four or five direct client contact hours (This ratio is based on the requirement of Qualifying members to complete 450 direct client contact hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision in order to be registered as an RP.
When required clinical supervision hours have been completed, members continue to meet with their supervisor on a regular basis, until such time as they have been notified by the College that they have met all of the requirements for ‘independent practice’, i.e. practice without clinical supervision.
It is the responsibility of members to maintain a record of supervision received. The record could include:
- name and contact information of the clinical supervisor;
- the supervision agreement or a description of its terms;
- dates and number of hours of clinical supervision received; and
- format (individual, dyadic, or group).
It may also include issues discussed at meetings or in correspondence with the clinical supervisor.
Informed consent and confidentiality
As part of obtaining informed consent from clients, it is prudent for members practising with clinical supervision to inform clients about the supervision arrangement. Members should also inform the client as to whether s/he may contact the clinical supervisor directly to ask questions or express concerns about services provided by the supervisee. Where information identifying the client will be shared with the clinical supervisor,
the supervisee must obtain the informed consent of the client. When a member communicates with his/her supervisor using electronic media, particular care must be taken to ensure that personal client information is safeguarded.
Members required to practise with clinical supervision participate meaningfully in the supervisory relationship and process.
Demonstrating the Standard
A member demonstrates compliance with the standard by, for example:
- developing, recording, and adhering to a clinical supervision agreement;
- keeping a record of clinical supervision received;
- informing clients of the supervisory arrangement, and including, if appropriate, the identity and contact information of the supervisor and the client’s right to contact the supervisor;
- ensuring clients are informed that a supervisor has access to their identifying information, if this is the case;
- spacing clinical supervision hours appropriately in relation to direct client contact hours;
- participating in clinical supervision in such a way as to promote the purpose and effectiveness of clinical supervision.
Note: College publications containing practice standards, guidelines or directives should be considered by all members in the care of their clients and in the practice of the profession. College publications are developed in consultation with the profession and describe current professional expectations. It is important to note that these College publications may be used by the College or other bodies in determining whether appropriate standards of practice and professional responsibilities have been maintained.