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Clinical Supervision

Clinical supervision is an essential part of working therapeutically with clients be they adults or children. The purpose of clinical supervision, as compared to line management supervision, is for the supervisor to help the supervisee become more effective in helping other persons ie the children in the case of play therapy. The role of a Clinical Supervisor is to provide support and advice upon issues that arise during the therapist's clinical work. These may be matters of therapeutic techniques, therapeutic relationships, difficult problems, ethical decisions or issues that impact personally upon the therapist caused by the therapeutic process.

PTA's standards of supervision requirements are:
  • Trainees - one hour of supervision for every six hours of clinical work with children.
  • Qualified practitioners - a minimum of one and a half hours supervision a month.
  • One of the main constraints upon the growth of therapeutic play and play therapy in the UK is the shortage of experienced play therapy supervisors. PTA accredits Play Therapy Supervision training programmes and encourages experienced practitioners (at least 450 hours clinical practice) to develop their career in this direction. Sometimes practitioners will have to use supervisors who have experience of the therapeutic use of the creative/expressive arts or who have supervised counsellors of children.

    PTA is in the process of defining competencies for clinical supervisors. These will be added to the Profession Structure Model later in 2004.


    Supervision has two main functions; it should be educative and supportive.

  • To provide a regular space for the supervisee to reflect upon the content and process of the work.
  • To develop understanding and skills within the work.
  • To help relate theory to practice.
  • To enable the supervisee to apply their approach appropriately to children at different developmental stages.
  • To have an opportunity to think and develop ideas.
  • To be validated both as a person and a therapist.
  • To plan and utilise the personal and professional resources of the supervisee
  • To give constructive positive and critical feedback.
  • To offer a space to reflect and clarify what is evoked by the work and explore our reactions to this experience.
  • Ensure that the work is done in such a way that the supervisor can be accountable for the monitoring and quality of the work being done with the children.
  • It is important to form a clear contract for every supervisory relationship, stating length of contract, responsibilities and fees.

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