Why is supervision important?

Is supervision a necessary evil – a bit of a nuisance that we just have to do in order to maintain professional memberships or, is it something of real value that can enhance our effectiveness as a practitioner through becoming more reflective and focused on what we are doing in our work? All practitioners of mainstream talking therapies, whether that’s hypnotherapy, counselling, CBT, clinical psychology etc., are required to have supervision, so it’s not just hypnotherapists who are singled out.

It’s certainly true that clinical supervision is an absolute requirement for all recently qualified hypnotherapists. The NCH say that members must be supervised by a qualified hypnotherapy supervisor for their first three years of professional membership. Before becoming professional members, trainees are supervised by their training college. After three years, members can decide whether to maintain that supervision or whether to become part of a peer support group. However members requiring an upgrade in membership grade will require a report from their supervisor and consequently will have to have maintained supervision, irrespective of their length of membership.

All professional organisations have their own rules over supervision so it is best to check with whichever organisation/s you belong to in order to find out exactly what supervision you need and how often you need to have it. Generally the frequency of your supervision sessions will depend upon how many clients you are working with. Naturally the busier you are, the more sessions you need.

What are the main benefits to you of being supervised?

Apart from meeting your professional requirements, clinical supervision does have real benefits for all practitioners. Being a therapist can become rather an isolated existence. Practitioners working from home may feel this particularly and even those working in a therapy centre may not have contact with other hypnotherapists in the same centre. You may require help with issues of technique, ethics or practical aspects of work. It’s also equally valid and important to have regular discussion with your supervisor over your own feelings about your work and particularly about any unresolved or resurfacing personal issues of yours which therapy work may stimulate. The value can really be immense, provided that you are supervised by a suitably qualified and competent supervisor (more about this in a moment).

How does supervision normally take place?

Acceptable modalities are individual, face to face, group face to face, and individual telephone supervision. Another possible option is group telephone/Skype supervision but my experience is that this can be a big ask of concentration and can be lacking in rapport.
Rapport can work surprisingly well however in face to face group supervision such as the monthly sessions which I facilitate at Central England College. There’s something about supervisees sharing their creativity that can be very inspiring and mutually beneficial. Group sessions normally offer a financial advantage to participants.

Supervision sessions should always follow a structured agenda in which the supervisor facilitates the course of the session within the time available to meet the needs of the supervisee/s. An advantage of telephone/Skype supervision is that your supervisor can literally be anywhere and not necessarily within convenient travelling distance for you.

Do you have any aspirations to become a clinical supervisor?

Accredited supervisors must have at least three years supervised professional practice experience and have a professional qualification in hypnotherapy supervision. Whilst being qualified as a hypnotherapist is a prerequisite to becoming a supervisor, it does not provide the range of skills and expertise to supervise. The NCH have developed a supervision qualification which is externally accredited and awarded by the national awarding body NCFE.

If you fancy spending some of your time supervising other practitioners, please feel free to contact the NCH for details of their next course. You don’t have to have been in practice for three years to train and qualify as a supervisor but you can’t become an accredited supervisor until you’ve notched up your three years. It’s potentially a great way of developing yourself and your professional skills and building your professional status – not to mention increasing your financial revenue!

By Nick Cooke