Ethics, principles and values

Ethics and standards of supervisors

What we promote for all supervisors



Supervisor: Ethics

Minimum Requirements

The ISPC holds that supervision should not be at the discretion of the professional body but instead the training agency. In this case Ridgeway College in which it was decided that 1 – 2 hours of supervision per month should be undertaken by student counsellors and practicing counsellors. This will however depend on the amount of counselling the supervisee in undertaking with clients.

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Code of Ethics for Supervisors

Minimum Requirements of Supervisors





The supervisor should be someone who is qualified up to a minimum of advanced certificate level

The supervisor should have a minimum of 3 years more experience than the supervisee in counselling. In supervision work experience is often more valuable than qualification, however, the supervisor must hold a counselling qualification.


We recommend that supervisees choose a supervisor who has undertaken a supervisors training course or hold a higher qualification at degree level in the field of counselling/psychology.

Supervisors should themselves be in supervision.

Purpose of Supervision

Supervision is for the moral, ethical and emotional welfare of the supervisee and their clients.


Supervisors are responsible to their supervisees in the same was as counsellors are to their clients. However, it must always be clear that supervision is very different from counselling. The supervisor is through their greater experience and sometimes knowledge able to offer advice to the supervisee. Supervision in counselling, however, is different from that undertaken in business. It is not therefore management.


Supervision is also to help supervisees in their counselling careers. The supervisor should be prepared to assist the supervisee in ideas for further training or with the development of their practices.




What is Supervision











Supervision is a means to help supervisees to deal with their clients in the most effective way possible. It helps in situations where the supervisee feels uncomfortable about their work with a client or clients. The supervisor should help the supervisee talk through both negative and positive aspects of their professional work. These issues include but are not exclusive to:


Counter transference

Feelings of inadequacy in counselling sessions

Concerns over confidentiality

Personal feelings about client

Worries about burnout

Should the supervisee also go back into therapy

Further career development

Assistance in practice


Supervision is a place of safety for supervisees to unload the emotional fall out of practicing as a counsellor.

Supervisors Responsibility






To treat the supervisee with respect both as an individual person and also as a professional counsellor or student counsellor.

To understand and accept that the supervisee will have their own particular knowledge and experience and that this will be somewhat different to the supervisors own. (Different not worse or better)

To realise that they have a duty of care to the supervisee and that their roll is to assist the supervisee, not instruct. However, it is acknowledged that the supervisor should have more experience than the supervisee and maybe a higher level of training/qualification.

To be on time and allow the supervisee time to deal with any matters they bring to supervision.

Supervisees Rosponsibility





To treat the supervisor with respect as an individual person and also as someone who has more experience in their field than they have. He/she is a fellow professional.


To listen to the advice offered by the supervisor and agree to at least give such advice a fair hearing. If the supervisee disagrees with the help/advice then this should be discussed in a non-confrontational manner.


To accept that both supervisor and supervisee are working toward the common good of the supervisee and their clients.


To be on time for appointments and allow time for issues they are bringing to supervision.

International Society of Professional Counsellors

Counselling training

We encourage all students and accredited members to keep up to date with their training. If you're in need of further information please contact us and we'll endeavour to help.

Become a member

If you're looking to enhance your counselling framework and ethics please join the ISPC. We want to provide the same level of service that you would provide to your clients.

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