Professional Supervision

Course CodeBPS301
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Increase your knowledge of professional supervision with this course!

  • Learn why debriefing is critical for a sustainable career in counselling.
  • Learn how to set up and run a system for supervising and debriefing counsellors.
  • Enhance your professional skills for a more successful career.

This course develops skills in supervising other professionals and an awareness of what to expect when undergoing supervision yourself. You will study the course by distance learning and cover topics including - 

  • professional supervision
  • counselling supervision
  • qualities of a good supervisor
  • SWOT analyses
  • models and theories of supervision
  • legal concerns
  • professional behaviour
  • ethics
  • confidentiality
  • different approaches to supervision
  • organisational considerations
  • management issues 

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Professional Supervision
    • Introduction
    • Nature and scope of counselling
    • Defining supervision
    • Benefits of being supervised
    • Personal moral qualities of a counsellor
    • Case study
    • Your strengths and weaknesses
    • SWOT analysis
    • Qualities of a professional supervisor
    • Case study
  2. Models of Supervision
    • Beginning the super vision process
    • Contracts
    • Models of supervision
    • Mentoring
    • Proctors interactive model of supervision
    • Use of reflection in the theoretical framework
    • Forms of supervision: individual, group, self, agency
    • Reporting and record keeping
    • PBL: Create and present a plan with specific strategies for improving the supervision of employee’s work related skills, attitudes, and knowledge in the workplace, based on a clear understanding of the person’s needs, values, and situation.
  3. Professionalism, Ethics, and Legal Concerns
    • Introduction and ethical codes
    • Supervisor professional standards
    • Ethical decisions
    • Responsibilities of supervisors to other professionals
    • Confidentiality
    • Informed consent
    • Multicultural counselling
    • Dual relationships
    • Professional boundaries
    • Complaints
    • Professional misconduct
    • Bringing the profession into disrepute
    • Sanctions
  4. Different Approaches to Supervision
    • Relevant theories or models
    • Developmental models
    • The Professional Development Model (PDM)
    • Discrimination model
    • Issues in supervision
    • What is burnout
    • What causes burnout
    • Is stress the same as burn out
    • Online counselling and supervision
    • Telephone counselling
    • E mail or online counselling
    • How does online supervision work
    • International perspectives on counselling supervision
  5. Supervision for Different Professions
    • Introduction
    • What to look for in an effective supervisor
    • Foundations of supervision
    • Supervision policy statement
    • Case study: Supervision in social work
    • Case study: supervision in occupational health nursing
    • Case study: supervision in the coaching profession
    • Case study: supervision for child safety
    • Case study: supervision in youth work
  6. Organisational Considerations
    • Introduction
    • Self governance, awareness and supervision
    • Defining requirements
    • Organisational dynamics
    • Team dynamics
    • Supervision and outside contractors
    • Benefits of supervision in an organisation
    • Education
  7. Managing Supervision
    • Issues in managing thew process
    • Frequency and duration of supervision
    • Finance
    • Other elements
    • Motivating factors
    • Transference and counter transference
    • Power abuse
    • Selection of supervisors and supervision
    • Standardised and open methods of supervision


  • Describe what is meant by professional supervision, why it is necessary, benefits and disadvantages;
  • Define and compare different models of supervision including reciprocal mentoring, group supervision, self supervision, and agency supervision;
  • Develop an understanding of professional issues of supervision including confidentiality, ethics, quality control, and legal concerns;
  • Understand and define different approaches to supervision including psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural, solution-orientated, process-orientated and narrative methods;
  • Understand some of the different approaches applied to supervision for different professional groups;
  • Explain the different requirements of providing supervision in organisations where most employees are counsellors, organisations where counsellors are in the minority, and organisations of non-counsellors;
  • Identify the different managerial components of the supervision process including budgeting, monitoring frequency of supervision, selection of supervisors, and the question of standardisation.

What You Will Do

  • Explain the concept of professional supervision;
  • Describe the process of a one-on-one case study of professional supervision;
  • Determine the pros and cons of professional supervision;
  • Define different supervision models including reciprocal mentoring, group supervision, self supervision and agency supervision;
  • Identify ethical concerns to be considered in supervisor/supervisee and supervisee/client relationships;
  • Consider the importance of confidentiality and duty of care;
  • Identify main legal concerns arising from supervision;
  • Discuss problems caused by treating supervision as a form of quality control.
  • Explore similarities and differences between psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioural, solution oriented, process oriented and narrative approaches to professional supervision;
  • Identify key problems associated with matching theory to practice in supervision.

Sample Course Notes - Beginning the Supervision Process

The supervisee must choose a supervisor that they feel comfortable with. Establishing rapport on both sides must include establishing the specific supervisor’s framework before engaging the supervisor. This entails finding out about when the meetings will be scheduled i.e. ad hoc, weekly, monthly, what specific time, where they will be conducted, (it is not recommended that supervisory sessions occur any less than every couple of months), and what fee will be paid. Having equipped your supervisee with these details, they are in a much better position to engage your services on a fully informed basis.  

Sound planning on the supervisor’s part in regard to expectations of both parties, regardless of whether the sessions have been requested by the supervisee’s current employer, or whether they have been chosen voluntarily, can contribute much to the success of the supervisory experience. Prior to the first session (the contracting phase), either meet with the supervisee or send out a brief that includes a description of yourself and your background, qualifications, and experience (professional disclosure statement).

Similarly, obtain a brief from the supervisee about what they have previously done.  Remember that even if the supervisee is a student, the ‘easy does it’ approach will ensure that you start off on the right foot, as many of the people you will be supervising will be professionals in their own right, and may feel like they are in a less than equal relationship.

Having done this, the first meeting is really all about becoming comfortable with each other’s style, especially if the supervisee is participating in the process to meet organisational requirements.  Working agreements must be established and even a formal contract may be necessary.  Learning goals will need to be discussed and set.  Processes of review and feedback may involve:

  •    Monitoring
  •    Review and
  •    Feedback.

Remember to be flexible and to renegotiate learning goals as necessary with the supervisee. Monitoring and reviewing your own supervision style and methods will also assist you to develop a practice of self-constructive review.  

Models of Supervision

Various models have been proposed and created to assist supervisors to conceptualise the unique dynamics of counsellor development as a learning paradigm different from counselling itself.  Six basic examples are the Systems Model, Mentoring, Group Supervision, Self Supervision, and Agency Supervision. It is essential for the supervisor to identify elements consistent with supervisee development as well as to be able to recognise and construct their clinical experiences in relation to their professional growth.  Supervisors are responsible for outlining skills and techniques of supervision that are needed for each counsellor in training and in the counselling situation.  


Who Is This Course Suitable For?

The Professional Supervision course is suitable for anyone who is interested in increasing their knowledge and skills in supervision. 

What Do Our Students Think of the Course?

"The course was a valuable learning experience because it challenged my thinking regarding the application of supervision and how to apply supervision to different professions.  The course exceeded my expectations, in particular because it explored other aspects of supervision such as burn-out, professionalism, ethics and legal concerns.  The course has a very comprehensive approach to supervision, which makes for a more rounded supervisor".
Allan M Eno MSc (Hons) Degree, Clinical Supervisor/Manager, Harley St, London - UK, Professional Supervision course.

Allan obviously found this course a valuable experience that exceeded his expectations.  If you would like to learn more about Professional Supervision with this excellent, high quality course, then enrol now.


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