Supervision & Contracts – Aspects of Effectiveness
It’s important that the supervision of mental health care professionals is effective and that they and their clients are well protected through contracts that both the supervisor and the therapist must agree to and sign. This will then ensure that all parties are helped and protected through the process of supervision.
Providing Expertise for Effective Supervision
The organization called RAPPS also known as Register for Applied Psychology Practitioner Supervisors, offers standards that are required for skills, experience, knowledge, and understanding of provisions of effective supervision. These standards begin at the introductory level and they are recommended as good practice for those who are offering professionals supervision.
CPD and Training for Supervisors
Supervisors will make sure that they attend supervision skills training and that they participate in regular training that relates to their supervision during the course of their professional career. This training includes introductory as well as advanced training. Most of the training is available for all training courses when they are looking to place a supervisor in a supervisory role with a therapist. Most of the courses provide the type of training that is approved by the BPS and confirms eligibility for the RAPPS.
Accessing Supervision Problems
There can be some settings that might be hard to access supervision that is suitable meeting their standards. For instance, if the therapist is the only one working in a certain organization. This could be that they are the only clinical therapist that’s within a particular district hospital or they work in the independent sector. When these situations appear, the individual therapist and their supervisor will actually need to ensure that the supervision needs of the individual are met effectively. Often it will be advised to liaise with their local DCP branch chair people for some professional guidance and advice.
Audit and Monitoring
All the services that employ a clinical psychologist will need to ensure that supervision that’s effective is received and provided to the psychologist. The supervision can be monitored in different ways that can include formal auditing along with annual appraisals of the supervision process.
The outcome of any supervision process will be reviewed and evaluated systematically on a regular basis. This evaluation should take place at least once a year. The minimum audit is to ensure that the psychologist has at least the minimum frequency of audits and a more detailed analysis of all the aspects of their supervision. This should include purpose and content of the supervision. The ideal type of monitoring and auditing would be the annual monitoring the quality of the supervision being given. This is done through a survey given to the psychologist being supervised giving their own appraisal of the experience.
Guidance documents are always being updated for those involved in supervision. Updates build upon previous documents that may have been given to both the supervisor and the therapist. These documents cover the standards in terms of the supervision and its relation to the quality aspects of the supervision, grades, and are great aids for the supervisors who are giving the supervision.
Over the years it has become quite clear that while writing these guidance documents dealing with the supervision that’s within clinical psychology is an area that can continue to be developed when it deals with the following:
- Any literature that has emerged about theoretical aspects of professional supervision
- Improvement on the work on competency frameworks for the supervisors
- Include current plans that will take forward the STARR system in order to accredit all supervisors
It is the hope that these guidance documents will remain relevant over time and will be appropriate. While at the same time remain broad enough to ensure that this diverse work continues at a high level. Along with all issues being appropriately addressed.
What’s in Supervision Contracts?
There are a couple of different supervision contracts that the supervisor and the therapist can agree to. The information contained in them is covered here.
- A supervision contract is one that is a commitment made by both the supervisor and the therapist. It helps to enable the therapist, a qualified practitioner of therapy is able to discuss things in promised confidence. These are any issues that relate to their work within a clinical or office setting with their patients. It also ensures that they will have a practice that is safe and it should enable the development and the maintenance of their skills.
- The contract will state how often they meet and for how long each meeting.
- The supervision will most often be provided on an individual basis unless they agree on a different setting and this should be reviewed at least once a year.
- Supervisors will have the responsibility of ensuring that there is always a private venue that is free from interruptions. They also need to be available for each session that is booked.
- Sessions should only be canceled because of sick leave, annual leave, or emergencies. They will need to be re-booked as soon as they can.
- The supervisor should always take notes during sessions and copies need to be made available to the therapist.
- All topics that are discussed must be treated confidentially.
- The therapist being supervised does have the responsibility to use their supervision in order to give structure, exploration, support in order to maintain, develop, and enhance their skills.
- Can choose a qualified clinical professional who can act as a third party in a consulting role. This is needed if conflicts and difficulties might come up between the supervisor and the therapist.
- Whenever requested, the supervisor should provide feedback so that the therapist can appraise it.
Another version of a supervision contract can also include the following:
Focus – The supervisor will ensure that each individual therapist works within proper professional boundaries. They also will ensure that they are following proper professional standards as set down by the “Trust”. They will also contribute to any appraisals. Reviewing of objectives and identifying any training needs there might be for the therapist’s personal development.
The main focus of any supervision should be on development and the maintenance of the therapists clinical and professions skills. These ones that are appropriate for the role of the individual therapist.
The supervisor will review their clinical caseloads in order to monitor the kinds of work they are involved in. Will review their caseload mix, development of higher clinical expertise, and even wait times are reviewed. Their appraisal objectives will also be reviewed regularly.
The therapists CPD activities will also be reviewed and their different objectives will be recorded and discussed with the therapist.
The therapist being supervised will be responsible for making sure they highlight areas that they need any further support in. This should relate to certain aspects of their clinical work, managerial tasks, and their professional roles.
The issues they discuss and the agreed outcomes need to be agreed upon and recorded by both individuals involved in the supervision sessions. These notes can be emailed to the therapist who then will be able to amend or comment on them if needed.
Boundaries – The supervisor and the therapist will schedule regular supervision that they both agree on. They will decide on how often and they will agree on a commitment to good timekeeping. Also, agree on a way to avoid any interruptions during the sessions.
When it comes to the issues of the well-being of either one of the individuals involved in supervision comes to light, there will be the need for a third party. They are to step in and take on the role of a consultant, as long as they have the permission to do so from both parties involved.
All content of the supervisory sessions and any records that are recorded or written remain confidential. Unless concerns arise about risk or the competence of either party.
Any material that comes from the supervision and any related records about either party, should only be discussed outside of the supervision if both parties agree.
When it comes to recording sessions it has been agreed that session recordings should include the following:
- Copies of all supervision contracts and all updates to these contracts.
- Recording of duration and date of all sessions.
- A logbook by the supervisor needs to be kept. This should include minimal notes on all content of the sessions, decisions made and actions that have been agreed upon.
- There should be a written record of all reviews that include the outcomes of the supervision. This will usually be the responsibility of the professional conducting the supervision.
- In certain situations like risk problem,s it’s a good practice to record these discussions. Also, record any agreements that are relevant to the case file or anything that’s part of the clinical records. This should be the responsibility of the therapist. It’s a good practice to record these within their clinical cases records, especially when it deals with any clinical decisions. The therapist should record in their clinical records any risk problems and how they were handled.