Extract from the Ethical Framework

91. We will take responsibility for our own wellbeing as essential to sustaining good practice with our clients by:

a. taking precautions to protect our own physical safety
b. monitoring and maintaining our own psychological and physical health, particularly that we are sufficiently resilient and resourceful to undertake our work in ways that satisfy professional standards
c. seeking professional support and services as the need arises
d. keeping a healthy balance between our work and other aspects of life


What is the proper role of supervision in care of self and when should a practitioner look outside supervision for adequate care?

Supervision plays a major role in ensuring that we provide a sustainable and resilient service to our clients, and self-care is part of that strategy. The important distinction is that while supervision can engage with issues that relate directly to the practitioner, which may involve providing some support, it ultimately focuses on helping the practitioner deliver their service to the client. If supervision is becoming directed towards meeting the needs of the supervisee without necessarily having a direct beneficial effect for clients, some other form of service is appropriate. Supervision should not turn into therapy for the supervisee, or provide other forms of support or training which distort the balance of the different roles.

What should a practitioner consider if they need to stop work, either for their self care or to protect their wellbeing?

Providing counselling services can be very challenging to us as people. Sometimes clients can touch on issues which we have not resolved, or which are currently raw and painful, because of events in our own lives. We shouldn’t give up work with clients lightly - putting clients first requires us to think very carefully before we put our own wellbeing above their interests. But there may be occasions when we need to do that to provide the quality of service a client requires.

We need to consider:

  • is the challenge we’re experiencing to our own wellbeing sufficient to make continuing the work unsafe to the client?
  • if so, how do we implement the decision to end the relationship?

We may need to continue working with the client longer than is comfortable for us to ensure the most productive transition for the client. In situations, such as a sudden illness, which require a quick response it is particularly important to take care over who tells the client, and how, and to ensure that arrangements are made for the client to continue the work with someone else.