As the name suggests, clinical supervision is a specific kind of supervision, considered essential to the professional formation of the psychotherapist. For purposes of the College, clinical supervision means:
A contractual relationship in which a clinical supervisor engages with a supervisee to promote the professional growth of the supervisee; enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship, discuss the direction of therapy; and safeguard the well-being of the client.
Clinical supervision is distinct from general (or managerial) supervision by a supervisor or manager in the workplace, and distinct from the general supervision of students as provided for by the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991. These distinctions do not mean that an employee cannot receive clinical supervision from a manager or team leader in the workplace, nor does it mean that students do not receive clinical supervision (indeed they do). However, clinical supervision is a particular kind of supervision that has specific characteristics:
- it is contractual;
- it is purposeful (intentional);
- records are kept;
- there are regular meetings; and
- there may be shared responsibility for the well-being of clients depending on circumstances and modality.
The purpose of clinical supervision is four-fold:
- to promote the professional growth of the supervisee;
- to enhance the supervisee’s safe and effective use of self in the therapeutic relationship;
- to discuss the direction of therapy; and
- to safeguard the well-being of the client.
Just as clinical supervision is distinct from managerial supervision, clinical supervision is also distinct from consultation with colleagues or other professionals when seeking direction or advice regarding the way forward with a particular client or clinical issue. While sometimes less structured than clinical supervision, consultation is an important (often essential) professional activity that provides access to the experience and expertise of
other practitioners. Unlike clinical supervision, the College has not established standards or guidelines on “consultation”, but recognizes its value in the professional development of members and the well-being of clients.