What is clinical supervision?

QCA adheres to the definition of clinical supervision provided by PACFA in the PACFA Supervision Training Standards 2012 (p6), which state:

Clinical supervision is a contractual, collaborative process which monitors, develops and supports supervisees in their clinical role. Clinical supervision exists in three forms: Individual Supervision, Peer Supervision and Group Supervision.

In clinical supervision the central focus is on both the optimum treatment outcome for the client and the professional development and self care of the supervisee.

The process of clinical supervision is seen to encompass a number of significant components, including a formal agreement between supervisor and supervisee. It is an opportunity for the supervisee to present relevant material regarding their clinical practice via case discussion, recordings of client sessions, role plays, etc, allowing a space for reflective review by the supervisee and feedback by the supervisor. The supervisory relationship and process of supervision are congruent with the developmental needs of the supervisee.

Confidentiality is an accepted principle of counselling. Consequently it can be emotionally intense, and may impinge in unexpected ways on the counsellor’s own issues. Counsellors are vulnerable to compassion fatigue and burnout. For these and other reasons such as support for professional development, accountability, personal and client safety, it is essential that counsellors are in a formal supervisory relationship.

Because of the responsibilities and ethics involved, the supervisory relationship is always a formal one, even when supervision is in peer groups. Accordingly, it is a requirement of membership for QCA that counsellors receive supervision, and that the goals and nature of the supervision are clearly established in the form of a supervision contract and that a log is kept of supervision hours.

It is a requirement that supervision contracts are developed by members participating in all modes of clinical supervision, be it Individual, Peer or Group Supervision.