Hi, and welcome to this Supervision post!

In this post, I’d like to talk about Inskipp and Proctor’s functional model of supervision.  I find that this model links well to the other two models previously discussed.

First, I want to make a reference to the previous two models discussed in my supervision posts about my diagram (see first post here), and how Inskipp and Proctor’s model relates to them.

This model links well to Stoltenberg and Delworth’s model in that it assesses the supervisee’s work and development of knowledge and skills; and to Hawkins and Shohet’s model in that it deals with the more relational and personal aspects of the supervisee’s practice.

Let’s look at the three functions of supervision as theorised by Inskipp and Proctor.

The restorative function is the supportive aspect of supervision. It focuses on the supervisee’s health and wellbeing. As counsellors, we tend to work on a regular basis with strong emotions and distress that might leave us feeling emotionally, mentally and sometimes even physically drained.

Supervision is a space where the supervisee can be looked after, by talking about the feelings that they might be carrying over from a session or sessions, and the supervisor’s role is to help the therapist process these emotions and figure out how to best help themselves first, and then their client in the next session.

Reflecting on their emotions, being aware of what’s going on within themselves and in the relationship with the client are important to help the therapist work through difficult feelings and to be able to provide the client with robust support and interventions to help them get their lives back on track.  I see this very closely linked to what Hawkins and Shohet describe in their seven areas of supervision.

The normative or managerial function links well with the ethical frameworks that we follow – like the BACP ethical framework for the counselling professions – in that it is a quality control function. The therapist is assessed on their practice and whether they are practicing the principle of beneficience and being helpful rather than harmful to their clients. Other aspects mentioned in the framework that relate to this function are:

  • putting the client first

  • working to professional standards, which is what this function assesses

  • show respect

  • maintain integrity

  • build appropriate relationships with clients

  • demonstrate accountability

  • respect the client’s autonomy and help them work towards independence from the therapist through working through the client’s issues

  • justice

  • self-respect, meaning that the therapist is responsible for their self-care as well as their personal development

The last point brings us to the formative and educational function of supervision. Here we focus on the therapist’s development of their knowledge and skills. It is a more practical aspect of supervision, whereas the restorative function is more relational and emotionally developmental, and the normative is more a quality control measure.

The relationship between the client and the therapist, and the therapist and their supervisor, is more obvious in the restorative function, but even so it doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

This is why I am adamant that the three models discussed so far work much better together than in isolation. In the sessions themselves, I believe that these happen naturally, but in theory there isn’t one theory that encompasses all of the qualities, nuances and interactions that make up the supervisory relationship.

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

What do you think?

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Until next week…

In Supervision: A Functional Model of Supervision

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