For full details of supervision requirements and further resources for supervisees and supervisors, see our Supervision page.
My caseload has reduced during lockdown. Do I still need the same amount of supervision?
If you're an accredited member or working towards accreditation:
Under usual circumstances, you must have a minimum of 1.5 hours of supervision each month. You should still aim for this, but it may not currently be possible for financial, practical or other reasons. You may wish to consider alternatives or additions to your usual supervision arrangements, such as peer supervision.
We're looking for members to use their professional judgment and consult with colleagues or supervisors wherever possible. We will be flexible in our standards during this time to ensure that you're not disadvantaged.
There is provision for taking breaks in practice - you can take a break from supervision if you're not seeing any clients in a calendar month. You should record this for accreditation purposes and keep your contract with your supervisor in place.
If you're a registered or individual member:
The Register terms and conditions require that you have ‘appropriate supervision’ in place but do not stipulate a specific amount. If you're seeing a reduced number of clients or temporarily ending your practice, you should consider carefully how much supervision you need for the work you're currently undertaking. Use your professional judgment and experience and talk to your supervisor. This may be a time when you feel the need for extra supervision and we'd encourage creativity to ensure you feel ethically and personally supported in your practice.
If you're a trainee:
This will depend on several factors and you may feel a need for additional supervisory support. We’d encourage you to discuss and agree your supervision requirements with your training course, supervisor and placement provider if necessary.
I’ve moved my practice online. Do I need a supervisor who is trained in providing online therapy?
It is important to have adequate support for your online work. This may be your current supervisor if they're competent, confident and willing to supervise your online work. If not, you could explore alternative or additional forms of supervisory support with them.
If I'm just providing online or telephone check-ins with clients, do I still need 1.5 hours of supervision each month?
This seems a particularly important time to be supported in your work with clients. Even if you're not offering full therapy, the same reasons to work ethically, safely and in the best interests of your clients still apply. For example, even during a check-in a client could present issues of risk or safeguarding.
If I’m not seeing as many clients, can I do peer supervision instead of paid supervision to save money?
Peer supervision is a valid form of supervision for experienced therapists and could well form part of your supervision arrangements. It's important you assess whether your supervision arrangements are ‘appropriate’.
Peer supervision alone is not recommended for trainees and is unlikely to be sufficient for newly qualified therapists.
What do I need to consider before doing peer supervision?
You need to consider whether you're competent and experienced enough to have the additional skills and knowledge required. For example:
- in peer one-to-one (co-supervision), the roles of supervisor and supervisee are interchangeable with each peer taking a turn. With no perceived expert, peers may be at the same age or stage and understand each other’s developmental needs.
- in peer-led groups, which provide many viewpoints, varied feedback and a wider range of experience and ability, there are more opportunities for working with diversity. Groups can be very creative but there's less time for each member, time may not be divided equally, and competitive, destructive group dynamics may arise if not managed well.
Additional considerations include:
- are you confident you can maintain client anonymity?
- will you need to amend your client contract to maintain transparency of who you're sharing their information with?
- if you're using an online platform, are you aware of any limitations to data protection and how you can try to reduce this risk?
- if you're combining peer and regular supervision, what is your rationale for taking some cases to peer and some to regular supervision?
- check the BACP supervision requirements to ensure we accept peer supervision for your membership category
Common difficulties that can arise from peer supervision include difficulty in challenging, potential for collusion and role confusion. That's why we ask you to consider carefully who you undertake peer supervision with and the ratio of peer to regular supervision. It's also advisable to avoid potential dual roles, such as undertaking peer supervision with a friend or partner.
We recommend you work together with your current supervisor to assess your supervision needs and how these are best met.
My supervisee wants to practise online but I'm not confident that they're competent to do so. What should I do?
Work with your supervisee to evaluate their competence and help them access additional guidance and information where needed. You can use our working online resources to help with this.
Ultimately you need to be clear whether you are willing to supervise their work and decline if this is an ethically sound decision.
Can I provide supervision online?
Quite a lot of supervision is already offered online. The skills and challenges are similar to providing therapy online. If you're are moving to a new way of working:
- be open with your supervisees
- choose a platform you're competent and confident with
- be prepared to discuss with your supervisee how they're experiencing and responding to the new way of working
Are there different requirements for providing online supervision for trainees?
It's best to check with the course provider and placement provider that what you're offering meets their requirements.
Hitting the buffers
Ethics consultant Stephen Hitchcock reflects on the role of supervisors during the coronavirus pandemic
Online resource: Supervising via digital media through times of crisis: A supervisor resource
Join Lynne Gabriel, Stephen Hitchcock and Anne Stokes as they discuss and identify key areas to address and engage with the potentiality and pitfalls of supervising through digital media. Video resource.
Supervisor support booking system
Available through our Ethics hub, our supervisor support service can support you with ethical dilemmas presented by your supervisees or queries relating to the provision of supervision.