Once you have qualified and want to start seeing clients, even if it's only part time, you will need to enter and maintain a formal supervision agreement with a qualified supervisor. Once you have been in practice for 5 years or more this can change if you want to take part in peer supervision, i.e. the supervisor and supervisee recognise each other as peers and that the supervision is both mutual and reciprocal.
This type of supervision is still subject to guidelines and size (for instance, a group of more than 9 peers is deemed unsuitable and inappropriate for supervision purposes. Other guidelines of supervision include that they must be on a face to face situation, confidentiality of clients must be maintained and that the supervision occurs at regular set times throughout the year with a required number of hours achieved.
With formal supervision the arrangement must be in the form of a written contract, setting out costs, timing, ethics and expectations of the agreement. The supervisor must provide an annual written report on the progress of the supervisee and keep an accurate log of all time spent in supervision.
Each supervision session should last between one hour to one and a half hours duration, together with provision for emergency advice if needed. These supervision sessions are generally face to face but can be conducted by telephone, webcam or skype as it utilises a real time conversation. How many per year is based on the number of client sessions a practitioner provides each week, with the following considered appropriate:
10 supervision sessions for a practitioner who has fewer than 30 client sessions a week.
12 supervision sessions for a practitioner who does 30 - 40 client sessions a week.
15 supervision sessions for a practitioner who does more than 40 client sessions a week.
Payment of these supervision sessions is negotiated between the supervisor and supervisee but a general guide is the equivalent to an hourly client rate of the supervisor plus a small fee for the written yearly reports. This guide price is reduced slightly for group supervision. All supervisors are subject to a code of ethics with a complaints procedure which must be in place with supervisees being made aware so that they may register complaints should this be necessary.
Supervision is a vital part of practicing hypnotherapy, especially in the early stages as it is the only way a therapist can get help, especially if a client is presenting difficult issues. It also allows the therapist to be seen by a more experienced person in the same field whilst maintaining professional and personal boundaries to ensure safe, ethical and competent practice. Supervision is also a valuable procedure to help the new therapist not only stay centred and firmly grounded but also allows them to continue their training whilst in practice.