Updated 11th October 2022

Supervision as a requirement of training.

Please note this supervision policy is best read in conjunction with our Placement Policy

All our students will be required to have supervision throughout clinical practice. Counsellors and psychotherapists have a professional responsibility to ensure we practice as safely, ethically, competently, and as effectively as we can within our limitations. It is therefore necessary to reflect on our own process and practice and be accountable for maintaining professional standards according to humanistic philosophy and ethical guidelines. 

Supervision involves discussion of the therapist’s work, possibly illustrated by recordings, to monitor professional and ethical issues as well as personal issues affecting the therapist, which may be influencing the process.  The supervisor will also be concerned with the effectiveness of the therapist’s work, use of theory, specific difficulties he or she has encountered, management of risk and his or her professional development. The process provides protection for the client and for the professional position of the therapist and the profession as a whole.

It is important for both the practitioner and the client that the professional regularly takes their work to supervision with a UKCP accredited supervisor. This is a requirement for students preparing for qualification and UKCP accreditation. Peer supervision is encouraged and can be accrued as ‘other’ hours in meeting training requirements but cannot count towards the requirements for meeting the UKCP supervision hours, prior to accreditation.

It is a compulsory requirement of the training to ensure you fulfil the criteria for supervised practice. UKCP requires that you attend a minimum of 1 hour of supervision (per month) for every 6 hours of practice (per week). 

The student and supervision

You are to take responsibility for what you take to the supervision and will benefit from maintaining a record of the outcome. Throughout training, you are required to make recordings of client contact, with their agreement, for review within supervision and use within training. 

Supervision may be on an individual or group basis.  In a group of 3 supervisees working with a supervisor for 3 hours, each supervisee may log 3 hours of supervision.  If there are more than three supervisees then a supervisee may log one hour of supervision for each piece of work presented by you in the group, the remaining balance of hours may be logged as training hours.

There are a number of local PTSTA/TSTA and UKCP supervisors associated with ECPT; and whilst the ECPT training model is integrative, supervision from any of the humanistic models is acceptable. A full list of TA supervisors and therapists is available

on the UKCP website.  ECPT also have a list of UKCP accredited therapists and supervisors at: Therapists Directory

You can find a UKCP accredited supervisor at: https://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/ukcp-members/supervision/

Please ensure your supervisor meets the criteria for qualification and/or accreditation for your level of need. It is your choice who you see depending on your preference for style, philosophy and accessibility. ECPT holds a Supervisors Register and requests you to check that your supervisor is recognised by ECPT.  Should you wish to see a supervisor that is not recognised by ECPT they would be required to apply to our register and meet our criteria.

You may be required to attend extra supervision as part of your placement so please check this out, however only hours with a suitable supervisor will count.

Confidentiality is an essential part of your supervision contract. However, this contract should allow two-way communication between your supervisor and ECPT in order that issues presented to either may be flagged-up with the other. 

There will also be a 4 – way contract between the student, ECPT, placement provider and supervisor. This means;

  • An open dialogue between the 4 parties if necessary, in relation to the placement.
  • An annual review between the supervisor and ECPT (Represented by the director of training and the placement coordinator)
  • A report by the supervisor on the students’ progress to ECPT on an annual basis. This can be done through a supervisor’s report – you can download the Supervision Report form at: https://ellesmerecentre.uk/student-handbooks/

NOTE: If the student is in private practice, this will be viewed as a secondary placement and there is a requirement for a 3- way contract between the student, ECPT and the supervisor. (link to placement policy)

All contracts are aimed at attending to the best interests of the student, their clients and their professional and ethical practice.

Understanding the value of supervision and the supervisory relationship.

What is supervision?

Generally, there is an agreement that supervision is a learning process in which a psychotherapist or counsellor engages with a more experienced practitioner in order to enhance their skills in the process of their ongoing professional development. This, in turn, promotes and safeguards the well-being of their clients.

Supervision is a branch of knowledge with associated skills in its own right, derived from research, closely linked to clinical work and based in the supervisory practice of competency and experience.

Considering a supervisor.

There are many things for our students to consider when finding the supervisor you believe to be right for you. It is therefore acceptable to invest in working this out. You may not get the ‘right’ supervisor initially or you may change your thinking about the ‘right’ supervisor for you as you become more experienced yourself. We have identified some things for consideration and whilst there will never be a perfect supervisor, it is alright to trust your instincts in working out ‘who works for you’. i.e. a challenging supervisor may mean you feel uncomfortable at times but if they are also prepared to look at themselves whilst being challenging, this may feel worth your investment in the discomfort.

The supervisory relationship.

We all grow best when we are safe – safe enough to be challenged, safe enough to be adventurous, safe enough to disclose and admit mistakes. A supervisory relationship provides a sense of equality, where power is available to each and appropriately deployed. Responsibility can be negotiated, and promises made and held to.

The supervisory relationship is a place of learning for both parties. A place for possibility and safety, without personal judgement, where learning is recognised and competence brought into awareness; a place where both partners can be truthful, where there is joy in learning and no shame of disclosure; a collegial relationship where there is authenticity, a balance of power and both parties are accepted.

The supervisor

The ethos of supervision and what we would hope from our supervisors from an ECPT perspective is encapsulated in the following;

‘How we work is who we are’

“What we most powerfully offer as supervisors to our students is a relationship with a real person; someone who is present, alive, responding emotionally and intellectually and putting and using ourselves in the service of the work….It is very firmly and clearly working out current and real issues in as straight, effective, honest and caring a relationship as is possible. The more clearly we can be fully ourselves the more we bring this quality to the relationship”

                                                                                                Diana Schmukler 2010

Characteristic of a supervisor

We are very aligned to the research presented by Cochrane and Newton (2011) in response to a questionnaire to supervisees on what makes an effective supervisor. Summarised below.

An effective supervisor is someone who can inspire others….knows themselves quite well and still likes themselves….will stay ok-ok while enjoying the collegial space…..enjoys others learning, while owning their own opinions and experience….is conscious of power relationships and has their own responses in the process….uses the self as an instrument and so is willing both to be vulnerable and to step into a place of authority when needed….will self-challenge to explore what it is they do and, over time, will develop to become a more sophisticated practitioner.

Open dialogue and contracting.

We emphasise that your supervisor is a personal preference and what is right for you may be some of these things or you may have your own ideas or expectations. Whatever you decide, we encourage you to place value on this as one of your most significant relationships throughout your training. Be reassured having an open dialogue with your supervisor about your expectations and requirements is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Obviously in the negotiating stage your supervisor, in the spirit of open dialogue and clear contracting, identify their expectations of you.

In accordance with this supervision policy, we would encourage you and your supervisor to maintain open dialogue if you have any concerns about anything supervision related. In addition, you or/and your supervisor are invited to bring any concerns or uncertainty about the relationship, safeguarding, ethical practice etc to ECPT for discussion at any point within your training contract with us, should you feel it is of value. We would endeavour to mediate if necessary or consider the best options forward.