In Supervision: Ethics and Professional Standards- Our Commitment to our clients

In Supervision

Welcome to my new series of In Supervision, where I will spend the next few weeks evaluating the BACP ethical framework and its valuable insights, reviewing it from my individual point of view, gained through my years as a supervisor, supervisee, therapist and client.

(For ease, when I refer to clients, I am referring to both my clients and the clients that my supervisees see, as well as my supervisees).

I will be writing about how I work with supervisees and clients in order to keep my commitments to them and to help clients to regain control of their lives by working through their individual issues and situations.

For more on how I work with specific issues and situations, you might want to check out my In Therapy series.

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Such a short word but in therapy it means so much.

Without trust, there is no way my clients will disclose everything – or anything – that might help them move on and get to where they want to be.

Trust allows our clients to open up, to want to share, and to know that what they share is safe with us. This in turn allows us to work through the more difficult aspects of their current – and past – situation, which is the main purpose of therapy.

The first way in which we can achieve our clients goals, and develop a trusting relationship that allows for change to happen, is to put our clients first.

From the start of our counselling careers, we know that we are doing the course, going to the required therapy and supervision, getting our practice hours in, because we want to make a difference in people’s lives – in our client’s lives.

So, from the beginning of our careers we are focused on the wellbeing of those people we will meet in our counselling rooms, and we work towards getting the training, experience and knowledge necessary to meet our clients’ needs and see effective and long-lasting change in them.


One way we achieve this goal as therapists and supervisors is by having regular supervision and keeping to our profession’s standards.

These standards include:

  • Working within our competence ­

    • Refer clients we are unsure of being able to help

    • Refer clients who’s situation we don’t know enough about

    • Go to further training to increase our ability to work with particular groups of clients

    • Picking a niche might help to know our boundaries and narrow the type of clients we might want to work with

  • Updating skills and knowledge

    • Continuous professional development is important, for the reasons stated above, but also for keeping up to date with the latest developments and to keep your knowledge fresh and top of mind, which will help choose the best interventions for each individual client at each point in their therapy.

  • Collaborate with colleagues to improve the quality of service to clients

    • I love the time we live in! I have a network of people and groups on social media that I can go to for support – not specific client related stuff, as that would be breaching confidentiality – but more for allowing the lone working to not be so “lonely”.

    • What others are doing to develop their practice and bring the profession to light in society is helpful, and if we all join up together we can help battle issues such as mental health stigma, and support each other at each step of our careers.

  • Self-care – if we look after ourselves, we can then look after others

    • Have a look at my blog series on self-care for some tips, and some ways you can practice self-care without breaking the bank or taking too much time.

  • Keep records in a confidential and accurate manner

    • This is very important and keeping records that keep our clients’ data confidential and safe is going to add to that trust we have discussed above.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this first installlment of the ethics and professional standards series.

I have covered the first two points on the BACP commitment to clients page. I will let you ponder on these and if you have any questions or comments, or anything else you’d like me to discuss in this series, do let me know via the form below.

Click here to read the BACP ethical framework. *** page 1 is covered in this post and in next week’s post *** 

Next week I will be talking about the following topics that relate to our commitments to clients:

  • Showing respect to each individual client
  • How to build appropriate relationships with clients
  • How the therapist maintains integrity in their practice
  • And how the therapist can demonstrate accountability and candour.

I look forward to seeing your comments and feedback.

Feel free to share on social media and with your friends and family.

I hold a Certificate in Clinical Supervision from the University of Derby.I offer Clinical Supervision to qualified counsellors, and support during the course for trainee counsellors. (1

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