PRACTICE: supervision


Many members of the College supervise the psychological work of nonregistered personnel and this may take several forms: For instance, they may hire assistants in their private practices to provide psychological services or they may supervise their services as members of psychology departments within organizations and institutions. Members are aware that, in doing so, they assume professional responsibility for the work they supervise.

These guidelines have been prepared in order to remind members that if they do not believe they can adhere to them, then they should consider themselves at risk in their role.

A. Qualifications of Members

Supervising members of the College shall have adequate training, knowledge, and skill to render competently any psychological service which their supervisee undertakes. They will not supervise, or permit their supervisee to engage in, any psychological practice which they cannot perform competently themselves.

B. Qualifications of Unregistered Persons Providing Psychological Services

Supervising members shall ensure that the unregistered service provider has the background, training and experience appropriate to the functions performed. The supervising member will determine the adequacy of preparation of the supervisee. The designation or title used by the supervisee will be appropriate to the role and not misleading to the public.

C. Utilization of Unregistered Persons Providing Psychological Services

1. The supervising member shall have such face-to-face contact with the clients of the supervisee that there will be adequate planning for the effective delivery of services. Which clients will be seen, and the extent of such contacts, will take into account both the competencies of the supervisee and the complexity and urgency of the client’s problem. The progress of the work shall be monitored through such means as will ensure that the professional responsibility assumed by the supervisor can be carried out for all services rendered. Supervisors shall also be available for emergency consultation and intervention in work settings where emergencies arise.

2. Work assignments shall be commensurate with the skills of the assistant. All procedures to be carried out by the supervisee will be planned in consultation with the supervisor.

3. Supervising members shall normally work in the same physical setting as the supervisee. A rationale will be provided and arrangements will be made for any exceptions.

4. Public announcements of services and fees, and contact with the lay or professional community, will be offered only by or in the name of the supervising member.

5. Users of the supervisee’s services will be informed as to his/her status, and will be given specific information as to his/her qualifications and functions.

6. Clients will be informed of the possibility of periodic meetings with the supervising member at their request, or at the supervisee’s or the supervisor’s request.

7. In any fee-for-service arrangement, setting and receipt of payment will remain the function of the supervising member or of the employing agency.

D. Conduct of Supervision

It is recognized that the variability in the preparation for practice of assisting personnel will require individually tailored supervision. The range and content of supervision will be worked out between the individual supervisor and the supervisee. A detailed job description in which functions are designated at varying levels of difficulty, requiring increasing levels of training, skill and experience, should be available.

1. Members will not receive payment from or otherwise be in the employ of someone they supervise except in special circumstances approved by the College or outlined in other guidelines.

2. An ongoing record of supervision will be maintained which details the activities in which the supervisee is engaged, the level of competence in each, and the type and outcome of all procedures.

3. All written reports and communications will be counter-signed by the supervising member.

The College wishes to emphasize its position that, as members bear the professional responsibility for the work they supervise, they must exercise their own judgement as to the manner in which it is carried out. The Guidelines are intended to assist in this process. They set out ways in which supervision can be responsible and can be seen by others to be responsible. Situations may arise in which members will be forced to account for the methods they have used and it is therefore important that they consider the Guidelines carefully. The College acknowledges that variations in supervision can be devised to fit variations in the service setting and working conditions; nevertheless, such variations should be accompanied by a rationale setting out the reasons and justification for the particular methods of supervision adopted.