“Supervision is perhaps the single most important aspect of being
a successful, professional Solution Focused Hypnotherapist”.
As well as doing great work with our clients and adhering to all legal and ethical guidelines, supervision is perhaps the single most important aspect of being a successful, professional Solution Focused Hypnotherapist (SFH).
It is essential for our own development, and in supporting us in our work with clients. Simply put, your Supervisor can be a real lifeline – no matter how long it has been since you qualified as a SFH.
- What’s Supervision all about?
- The benefits of regular supervision
- The AfSFH Supervision requirements
- AfSFH Supervision audits
- Supervisors’ Network
- Supervision FAQs:
- Help and Support
The name ‘supervision’ can be a bit misleading, as in reality, instead of this being some kind or activity based on a hierarchy where someone else scrutinises your work, solution-focused supervision is more like professional mentoring or coaching.
It’s a regular form of support that can facilitate your own personal development, encourage new ideas, and highlight your strengths. It helps therapists to notice what works – their skills, abilities, and creative ideas when working with clients and growing their business. We all know how skilful questioning can help our clients with their lightbulb moments – and that’s exactly what supervisors can do for us – help us to rethink and reformulate our ideas to find solutions in our work. There are enormous advantages to undertaking regular supervision, and it is a vital component of our individual development as therapists.
Solution-focused supervision involves working collaboratively with supervisees to encourage growth and development, helping us evolve into competent and confident therapists.
The relationship between Supervisor and supervisee is based on mutual respect, equality, and trust that encourages openness and honesty, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our work with clients and our businesses in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment. The beauty of supervision is that it is beneficial whether you are seeing only 1 or 2 clients (or none at all) or lots of clients, or whether you are newly-qualified or have been in practice for several years.
Below are just some of the major benefits to undertaking regular supervision (there are probably countless more!).
- CLIENT PROTECTION: First and foremost, a crucial aspect of supervision in any professional discipline is to offer protection to the public; cases are reviewed confidentially between you and your Supervisor, where discussions can ensure you are always working in your clients’ best interests.
- YOUR CONTINUED SUCCESS: The collaboration between you and your Supervisor is a vital component in helping you find ways to successfully move your clients forward – and that means a more successful practice for you. After all, the cardinal rule of marketing is: ‘do a good job!’. Ensuring that we are regularly focused on enhancing what we do, obviously has huge benefits for our existing clients but, by extension, the potential for developing crucial referrals in the future – which is undoubtedly the main source of new clients for established therapists. It is no coincidence that the most successful self-employed practitioners, regularly participate in supervision and CPD – simply put, it makes us better.
- YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFELINE: Whether you have recently qualified or have been a SFH for years, having regular contact with a Supervisor can provide huge support – particularly if a complaint has been raised about you or your work – or, better yet, discussing your work with your Supervisor may help you to avoid this. Part of the role of the AfSFH is to impartially review any negative feedback received. Where this happens, your Supervisor is your first line of support. Or perhaps you’ve come across something that may be a safeguarding issue or have found yourself dealing with a client experiencing mental health problems that you’ve never come across before – your Supervisor may not have all the answers, but they can be a real lifeline of support – helping to point you in the right direction of where you might find further information.
- PROVIDES PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS: “Should I do a Rewind?”, “They don’t respond to the Miracle Question”, “Their scaling number keeps going down or not changing” – just some of the things we might experience in our practice. Along with their own experiences, these are things your Supervisor will have come across regularly before. Supervision can therefore be extremely valuable on a practical level, by helping us to grow in our understanding of how to use various tools and in sharpening our skills and techniques – especially when we feel we’re stuck with how to help a client or we’ve reached a plateau in helping them make changes. Supervision helps us in finding solutions, and helps us to identify our own abilities, strengths, and resources, which will benefit our clients and our practice.
- PERSONAL GROWTH: Supervision is at the heart of our personal as well as our professional growth as Solution Focused Hypnotherapists. Not just vital for when we start out, it can help us in developing our knowledge and confidence throughout our careers. Supervision reassures us, challenges our thinking, gives us ideas and inspiration, however experienced we are. Crucially, it also helps us to recharge our energy and motivation, and encourages creativity to stimulate and invigorate our practices, which is vital to success over the years.
- DEDICATED TIME FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: As mentioned, supervision can be immensely helpful in giving us the opportunity to develop our knowledge and skills, but it can specifically allow us the time to reflect on our work. It’s so easy to get into a routine with clients, and sometimes it’s easy for us to become too relaxed about what we are doing and why we do it (and perhaps for bad habits to start creeping in, like poor time management of sessions or not bothering with consent forms etc). Supervision offers a dedicated, safe time and place for us to reflect on our performance, providing us with insights into how to progress and improve in our work. Considering what is working well and what isn’t, can help us refine our practice to the benefit of our clients and our business – after all, this dedicated time for reflection can relate to all aspects of our practice from marketing and advertising, to considering strategies for effective time-keeping.
- BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Supervision can also be a great opportunity to discuss ways to build and grow your business. Talking things through with your supervisor (and other supervisees if present), can help you consolidate your ideas and come up with new plans for how to develop your business. The chances are that your Supervisor or colleagues may well have tried and tested several methods and might be able to give you some valuable insights – including scams or other costly strategies you’d be better off avoiding.
- SOCIAL INTERACTION: Well, we all know about the positive benefits of social interaction! As with many other types of self-employment, working as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist can be isolating at times and Supervision is a great way to make and establish social and professional connections with like-minded therapists.
- PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY: As well as the multitude of other benefits, participating in regular supervision shows the public that you’re a professional, and that you are committed to regular, dedicated development activities. This is the hallmark of a professional practitioner, and something we should all proudly advertise. Whilst it’s true that there some unscrupulous therapists out there who never participate in supervision or CPD activities, not even the barest minimum as required by professional registration, we want all AfSFH members to demonstrate their professional conduct – something that will continue to enhance the reputation of SFH practitioners everywhere!
- PROVIDES A GUIDING HAND: Although all of us will have our own unique style and ways of working, the beauty and success of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy lies in its structure – one that has helped thousands of people in their lives. Through things we may see and hear on social media or on television, or from attending events etc. it can sometimes be tempting to ‘experiment’ with different ideas, strategies, and techniques. Now, there is nothing particularly wrong with this (as long as they are for your client’s benefit) and some therapists may well use other techniques that they have trained in (such as NLP, SFBT, or using EFT etc) or bring in additional themes in their work in which they are qualified (such as nutrition or pure CBT). However, if a client has come to us for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, then we must fulfil that expectation and never comment, suggest or advise in other matters in which we are not suitably qualified. Supervision can often help us get ‘back to basics’ – helping us to focus on the very best practices in SFH, which have been successfully used to help thousands of people.
- KEEPS US UP-TO-DATE: Supervision can also help us keep up-to-date with research or other findings, or recent news items that may be of interest to you and that may be beneficial to you and your clients. It’s a great way of staying in the loop with the latest professional developments, and any other wider changes in the legal matters that might be relevant to us.
- SUPPORTING OUR SELF-CARE: Having regular meetings with your Supervisor also helps you to reflect on your own self-care, because Supervisors also have a pastoral element in their work – they want to make sure you’re OK! Sometimes, it can also be hard for us to talk about difficulties we are experiencing with friends or family, because we may feel obligated to always be seen to be upbeat and positive – having an honest and supportive relationship with your Supervisor can therefore be hugely beneficial for our own wellbeing; as the saying goes “we cannot pour from an empty cup”.
The very bright sparks out there may have noticed that we’ve not included a point above that says one of the benefits of participating in regular supervision is “to meet my AfSFH membership requirements”. And that’s because, that would completely undermine and miss the point of why participating in regular supervision is so valuable!
It’s true that the AfSFH has to set a minimum requirement for supervision. But this is related to our professional obligations as a governing body – we have to set a fixed, measurable amount as a condition of us providing membership. It is in no way a reflection of what we would consider to constitute best practice, because we know that the best, most successful practitioners will go above and beyond any ‘arbitrary minimum’ amount, in order to provide the most effective, successful practice for them and their clients (many of those who fail to embrace this way of working are likely to fizzle out in their work and seek other forms of employment).
So, as it is, we are obliged to place a line in the sand against which all members can be assessed. The goal of any organisation setting a benchmark standard in the first place is so that these requirements can be monitored, measured, and a basic level of compliance can be reported. This is vital, because all professional organisations have an obligation to ensure that any requirements they stipulate as part of professional membership can be measured, therefore demonstrating a level of consistent standard from their members. This ensures that members of the public can feel satisfied knowing that these standards are in place and that members meet or exceed them.
Therefore, as a formal condition of your membership, the AfSFH requires each Registered member to accrue a minimum of 6 hours of supervision with a qualified Supervisor over the course of a year (the equivalent of 30mins per month). As we hope has been made clear, this is only an absolute minimum that all Registered members are required to complete. Please note: other organisations/professional associations may have different membership requirements, so please ensure you check these.
Given the vast number of benefits involved in participating in regular supervision throughout the year (as outlined in the big list above!), we would naturally expect that the majority of members would far exceed this amount, because Supervision is so beneficial to our work and in helping us to develop our practices.
In line with our professional obligations, the AfSFH minimum supervision requirement above will be used to benchmark our member standards, and this will involve us checking member compliance in accordance with our Audit Policy. We’re not here to finger-point if someone is struggling to meet their commitments – if people are falling short of these minimum expected requirements for one reason or another, we’ll work with them to help put this right; and, only if it becomes evident that a member is not committed to these mainstays of professionalism, will we have to consider their future involvement in the AfSFH.
All of our AfSFH Supervisors are qualified in solution-focused supervision methods (Ncfe Level 5) and understand the benefits of participating in regular supervision. Like all members, Supervisors regularly meet for supervision activities, and the AfSFH also provides a Supervisors’ Network. If you are a qualified AfSFH Supervisor and would like to join the Supervisors’ Network, please get in touch: email@example.com.
Noooo! This isn’t really the right question to be asking. If we are seeing undertaking “x” hours of supervision solely as a compliance activity for membership, then we are completely missing the true value and point of these activities! Just in case you’ve overlooked the real benefits and purposes for regularly attending supervision (not just to meet a specified numerical requirement), take a look at the Benefits of Supervision section above!
If you are looking for the AfSFH minimum expected standard (that you will confidently exceed as a professional practitioner!), then you can find this here.
There is great flexibility in how members choose to participate in supervision. For most people, especially when experiencing specific issues, having one-to-one sessions with their Supervisor is most valuable – these can be conducted in person or online (via Skype or Zoom etc), or over the telephone (or even via text or WhatsApp etc). In addition, many therapists find it beneficial to attend group sessions with their Supervisor – this may be by attending small or large group sessions (either in person or online). This can be a great way to discuss ideas with other colleagues and gain several different perspectives when wanting to grow or reinvigorate your practice. Of course, many practitioners enjoy participating in a variety of ways – regularly seeing their supervisor on a one-to-one basis in addition to attending group sessions. In this way, we are likely to enjoy the wide range of benefits associated with different supervision styles. It should be noted, that whilst potentially helpful, having a general chat in a Facebook group or other online forum/group chat does not constitute formal supervision.
As well as spending regular, dedicated, and scheduled time with your Supervisor, you may frequently have discussions over the phone or online in-between these formal sessions – because we may often have the need for some ad hoc chat in-between sessions! Indeed, if you ever are struggling with a specific client, or have concerns, or are unsure how to proceed, CONTACT YOUR SUPERVISOR – don’t wait until your next scheduled session. Your Supervisor will not mind you getting in touch – they want the best for you and your client – and having an early conversation with your supervisor may prevent further problems down the line or help you get things back on track with your client more quickly, which is in everyone’s best interests.
We have a great number of AfSFH Supervisors, who all offer the chance for members to work with them through a variety of different methods. This can help you to find someone who suits your style, requirements, and ways of working. Some people choose to have more than one Supervisor, and others prefer to remain working with someone for long periods of time. You have to choose whoever, and whichever methods suit you – this is about your professional development and success, and you can always change Supervisors or ways of working if that is beneficial to you. Remember, Supervision is much like Hypnotherapy, it is not something that is ‘done’ to you; it is something that you actively participate in on a regular basis in order for you to maximise opportunities to grow and develop in your work. It is a way of helping you to reach your full potential, and your Supervisor can be instrumental in helping you to achieve that.
You can check out a list of our qualified supervisors in the AfSFH Supervisor Directory.
Please note: when choosing or changing your Supervisor, please ensure that you update their name in your own AfSFH member profile page, so that we can contact them if needs be or as part of our audit processes.
As with other professional associations, all AfSFH Registered members are required to keep a record of all the Supervision activities they participate in for auditing purposes. Some Supervisors may provide their own template that you can use, or you can use the AfSFH Supervision log template.
We know that most members will recognise the importance of supervision and will far exceed the minimum requirements stipulated as a condition of their membership.
We’re confident that our members want to join us in demonstrating to the public that AfSFH members are the very best Hypnotherapists in the country, who take their professional development seriously, demonstrating the hallmarks of best practice!
If you are struggling with undertaking regular supervision or if you have any questions about these requirements, or about supervision in general, then please do contact our Head of Professional Standards: firstname.lastname@example.org.