What to Expect From Supervision – Theoretical Grounding

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As therapists, it is vital that we have a good support system in place for our professional and confidential work.

Personal therapy is one way in which we can get this support. Supervision is another, and it will be the focus of these posts.

In the next few months, I will talk a bit about 18 ways in which we should expect supervision to work for us.

I will discuss 18 things we should expect from our supervisory relationship in order to be accountable and working to a professional standard, for the sake of our practice, our profession, and most importantly, for the sake of our clients

Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding

Reflective Practice

Autonomous Practice

Click here to visit my main supervision page.
Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.




In this post, I want to talk about the importance of having a supervisor with a sound theoretical grounding.

Supervisors should have a sound theoretical grounding when providing supervision services.

What this means might vary from professional to professional, but gaining knowledge is important by any means (courses, reading books, cpd…)

I completed my diploma in supervision in 2015, and it gave me lots of food for thought, but most importantly it gave me the theoretical knowledge, skills and grounding from which to work with my supervisees.


I developed a model of working that I feel covers all the areas – practical such as contracting, psychological such as providing a safe space to work through clinical work, ethical and boundary issues, and more.

I don’t think I would be as confident in supervising practitioners if I didn’t have this base knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is possible to work without having gone through a supervision course, but I am a firm believer in having knowledge behind me to be able to offer the best service to my supervisees, which will in turn impact on the clients they see.

Learning theory is important in practice because it allows us to get a good perspective of the work we do and all the areas that we need to pay attention to in order to do our work well, within ethical boundaries, and to a high standard.

Here are a few things your supervisor should know when working with you:

  • awareness of all the areas involved in client work
    • relationship between the client and the therapist
    • relationship between supervisor and therapist
    • the parallel process between therapy and supervision sessions
    • the client’s life context 3
    • the supervisee’s work context
    • the responsibilities and roles of each party involved – client, therapist, supervisor
  • awareness of the stage of development of the supervisee, so the supervisor can provide appropriate support at that particular level and adjust as the supervisee moves from trainee to autonomous
  • have clear systems and boundaries around the supervisory relationship in itself, including
    • contracting and reviewing
    • dealing with issues as they arise
    • providing a safe space for the supervisee to be challenged and to reflect, within ethical and professional boundaries
  • provide support in these areas
    • practical and educational
    • emotional, psychological
    • ethical and professional

4Here are a few things that you will gain from supervision when your supervisor has a sound theoretical grounding:

  • space to review theoretical concepts learned and how to put them into practice
  • develop your own way of working within your chosen theoretical modality, with an opportunity to add skills from other modalities to your toolkit
  • to learn how to communicate better in regards to issues arising in the sessions with clients, but also in supervision sessions
  • it will also improve your professional skills,
  • and more…

All of these are important for your private practice.

Are you getting these from your current supervision arrangements? 

5Follow this link for a video describing this process.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues, supervisees, supervisors and others.

The more we talk about what supervision should be about, what it should cover, and how it should support therapists in their private practice, the better equipped we all will be, and we will provide the a better service to our clients


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