Supervision of psychotherapy practice has become increasingly professionalised in recent years and is becoming an essential requirement in maintaining competent practice. It is different in nature from training, personal development and line management.  Members of professional psychotherapy associations are required to receive on-going supervision on client practice as a necessary part of maintaining their level of membership, with a current supervisors report becoming a mandatory requirement of accreditation, and re- accreditation within the modalities.

The supervisory process is a complex interpersonal encounter encompassing a network of interrelated and transactional relationships.  The functions of supervision include monitoring, educating, developing and supporting individual practitioners in their role as psychotherapists. Through the supervisory relationship the practitioner is provided with an ongoing opportunity to enhance professional skills and abilities through reflection and exploration on their work with clients.

Modalities and Supervision 

The current position in ICP in relation to supervision is that each Modality within ICP monitors standards of training and accreditation of clinical supervisors. These standards of training and accreditation are consistent with modality specific competencies and practices; require designated hours of training and practice of supervisory placements including an assessment process congruent to each Modality.

When signed off by their Modalities, all recognised/accredited Supervisors are then available for inclusion on a register of Supervisors held by ICP.  All supervisors are required to adhere to a Code of Ethics and Practice.

 Guide to a Code of Ethics and Practice for Clinical Supervisors

Clinical supervision aims to promote the development of the supervisee and intends to promote reflexivity which is integral to the psychotherapeutic process. The purpose of establishing a code of ethics and practice for supervisors is to ensure the practitioner maintains safe and ethical practice and practices within their scope of practice t to ensure the safety of the client, the supervisor and supervisee.

The supervisory process occurs within the context of a professional relationship therefore dual roles should be avoided if at all possible. All supervisors will generally be accredited members of their modalities and registrants of ICP and attend regular clinical supervision of their supervision practice. In addition to adhering to their specific code of ethics and practice as outlined by the professional body a supervision contract needs to be established to establish clear supervision boundaries which can either be formal or informal.

As clinical supervision is an evolving practice any code of practice requires up-dating to reflect the current literature and evidence in the field.  A code of ethics and practice could consider the following:

  • The type of supervision offered e.g. peer, one to one.
  • Ground rules and policy regarding confidentiality.
  • Suitability of the type of supervision to the supervisees current needs.
  • The theoretical orientation, methods and techniques that will be used.
  • Emphasis of supervision e.g. process, content and relationship (or their relative weighting).
  • Practical considerations e.g. private quite room, frequency, duration, notes taking, fees.
  • Goals, aims and objectives of
  • Discussion of prior experiences of supervision, in order that supervision can be promoted as a positive developmental experience.
  • Work through the rights and responsibilities of both the supervisee and supervisor.
  • How the effectiveness of supervision will be measured/evaluated.
  • How any problems or fractures within the supervisory alliance will be handled from both the supervisee and supervisor perspectives
  • How will issues that are outside the competence of the supervisor be handled.
  • Anti-discriminatory policy and practice statement.
  • The Code of ethics that will be used.
  • How poor or incompetent practice (s) will be addressed from both a supervisee and supervisor perspective.
  • Process of review and renegotiations of the supervision contract.