Professional Supervision for counsellors and care workers

Are you an experienced counsellor looking to upskill?

Counsellors play an important role in supporting clients to resolve issues in their lives. The process can take it's toll on the counsellor, and they will need to be careful to make sure they are looking after themselves appropriately to avoid burnout. 

Every counsellor's self-care plan should include supervision. This is an opportunity for counsellors to debrief, gain understanding and support, build skills and knowledge, and gain guidance from a more experienced counsellor.

This course teaches the experienced counsellor or care worker to be an effective professional supervisor.

Professional Supervision for Counsellors - study by distance learning

  • Learn to manage and understand debriefing for counsellors - an essential process for a sustainable career in this industry.

  • Expand your knowledge and skills in the study of human behaviour.

  • Strengthen your career opportunities in counselling and related industries.

The role of the counsellor is to facilitate the resolution of their clients issues, whilst respecting their values, personal resources, culture and capacity for choice. Counselling can provide people with a regular time and space to talk about their problems and explore difficult feelings in a confidential and dependable environment.

Throughout this process, the counsellor is faced with many difficult situations; which may impact upon their own wellbeing; and in turn, reduce their capacity to be a good counsellor. Because of this situation, counsellors themselves need to be monitored and supported in a variety of ways.

A professional supervisor is the person a counsellor will turn to for this "support".


Course Structure and Lesson Contents

The course is divided into seven lessons as follows:

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.
  • Email or online counselling.
  • How does online supervision work.
  • International perspectives on counselling supervision.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 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.

Lesson 7. Managing Supervision

  • Issues in managing the 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.


Course Aims

  • Explain the concept of 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.

  • Understand professional issues of supervision including confidentiality, ethics, quality control, and legal concerns.

  • Define and explain different approaches to supervision including psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural, solution-orientated, process-orientated and narrative methods.

  • Explain some of the different approaches applied to supervision for different professional groups.

  • Explain 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 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 in this course

  • 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.

The Qualities of a Professional Supervisor

Before considering embarking upon the role of being a professional supervisor, it is important to consider the type of qualities required by a supervisor, which are an important ingredient in the success of supervision . You will note that many of these are the same or similar to the qualities required by a counsellor. These include –

  • Openness

  • Curiosity

  • Investment

  • Attention

  • Genuine Concern

  • Flexibility

  • Warmth

  • Self disclosure

  • Genuineness/Congruence

  • Unconditional positive regard

  • Understanding

  • Empathy

Supervision and the ongoing quality relationship between supervisor and counsellor is central to both counsellor education and to the ongoing professional development of counsellors. These two core areas are integral to supervision. Although skill development frequently is the specified target, the supervision process also encourages greater self-awareness and fosters and integrates professional and personal identity related to the roles and tasks of counsellors. It is essential to have a paradigm that can evolve with the clients, counsellors, and supervisors. These approaches will be looked at in more detail in chapter four.

Another avenue to be aware of is that it is imperative that the supervisor and counsellor be conscious of how counselling supervision can impact on the client. There have been studies done that have explored the counsellors experience on this subject which have contributed essential information to the discipline The topic needs to be addressed in supervision by both the counsellor and supervisor to ensure that the clients needs and welfare are being addressed holistically and sensitively.

Strategies need to be identified not only for monitoring, but also for enhancing the growth and development of counsellors in training. In some cases there may even be a need to facilitate interventions with counsellors in their own practice or as working as part of an organisation. Counsellor trainee development is integral in the creating of qualified counsellors for either private practice or for a position in an organisation.

It is important to remember that a supervisor’s role is NOT to become their supervisee’s counsellor or analyst. They are there to convey an understanding of the case in their role as supervisor only, and must be ready and willing to refer their supervisee to other professional assistance if these boundaries are compromised.

Best practice calls for emphasis on relationships, collaboration, and professionalism, and for de-emphasis of formal performance measures.

Supervision can take place one-to-one (individual), in a group setting, or live.


Study Professional Supervision with ACS

  • Improve your job and career prospects in the fields of counselling, care, and psychology.
  • Support others more effectively.
  • Enrol and complete this course in only 100 hours.

If you have any questions or want to know, get in touch with us now by:

Phone (UK) 01384 442752, or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected], or use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE