The Need for the Guidelines on Clinical Supervision


clinical supervisionThe main goal of guidelines for clinical supervision is the education and training of those who work in the mental health service. The whole idea is to prepare psychologists who are competent to provide better psychological services and to improve their professional practice. Clinical supervision is the cornerstone in preparing psychologists. These guidelines have been agreed upon and adopted as association policy to ensure the practice of high-quality clinical supervision for mental health professionals.

Supervisor Competence

Even though supervisor competency is assumed, there has been little attention focused on the definition, evaluation, or the assessment of the competence of supervisors. This then has actually diminished the perceived necessity for training in clinical supervision.

Competence in clinical supervision entails performing one’s professional role that is within the standards of practice and needs to include the ability to be able to identify when one is not performing their job adequately. Professional negligence is considered to be the failure of competence and can be legally actionable.

Even though clinical supervision is being recognized as a distinct activity, the actual recognition as a core competency domain for all psychologists has taken some time to finally come to the forefront of psychological services. Now that the recognition is here a definition of supervision has been created and it encompasses the skills, knowledge, attitudes/values specific to practicing supervision. Because of this, competency-based education and training in mental health services have gained some momentum over the last 10 years.

Competency-Based Approach

Clinical supervision that does apply a competency-based approach is one that entails creating an explicit framework and methods to initiate, develop, implement, and to evaluate the entire process along with the outcomes of each supervision.

This type of approach is predicated on the supervisors all having the knowledge, theories, models, and practices that are needed for successful supervision. Also, supervisors need to have the skills, knowledge, and values that are needed with respect to diversity, multiculturalism, ethical, and legal parameters. The management of those being supervised are ones that often do not meet the criteria for high-quality performance.

In order to provide good clinical supervision is why guidelines are important and they are items that can help to promote competent supervision of professionals who need it.

Clinical Supervision Guidelines Scope of Applicability

These clinical supervision guidelines are meant to inform any practice of their clinical supervision of those they are supervising in the areas of mental health services and training. These guidelines apply to a full range of supervised services that include intervention, assessment, and consultation. This can be done across all different aspects of professional functioning.

Clinical supervision can happen in a variety of ways such as supervision of the service delivered by the therapist, administrative supervision, supervision of those individuals mandated by entities that relate to disciplinary action, and the supervision of any research activities being conducted by the therapist.

Assumptions of the Guidelines on Clinical Supervision

The Guidelines on Clinical Supervision can be predicted on a variety of assumptions. All of these assumptions were clinical supervision2agreed upon by certain members of a task force and are the foundation for providing good clinical supervision assumptions include:

  • There is distinct professional competency requiring formal training and education.
  • It prioritizes the care of the patient and protection of the public.
  • Focuses on ensuring the professional and competence development of the therapist.
  • Requires that the supervisor is competent and knowledgeable in supervising the therapist.
  • Supervision is anchored in current evidence-based supervision.
  • Helps to infuse and integrate the dimensions of diversity in all of the aspects of their practice.
  • Supervision is conducted in a manner that meets all legal and ethical standards.
  • Ensures that supervisor uses a strength-based and developmental approach to their supervision.
  • Ensures that they incorporate a bi-directional feedback system between the supervisor and the therapist.
  • Must include evaluation of the expected competencies by the therapist.

Purpose of Guidelines on Clinical Supervision

These guidelines have potential to have a broad impact on the profession and any practices that are relevant for quality supervision. These guidelines are meant to have some impact such as:

  • For those conducting the clinical supervision these guidelines help to provide the framework to inform the development of the supervisors and to help guide them through self-assessment regarding any professional development needs there might be.
  • They should also help to promote the delivery of quality competency-based clinical supervision with goals of helping the therapist to improve their competency.
  • These guidelines also have a goal to provide the assurance to all regulators that quality supervision of students in training and education programs are provided with information that places value on quality.

Active Feedback

These guidelines can be considered as “living documents.” They establish a plan that offers periodic reviewing and revising of these documents in order to reflect any developments in discipline, training, and education. These revisions can be done based upon feedback between the supervisor and the therapist.

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