Sign Language Interpreters who want to access supervision may find the process of choosing a Supervisor confusing and daunting, uncertain of what to ask for or what to expect from a Professional Supervisor. Not only does the term ‘Supervisor’ have a variety of meanings, training in Professional/Clinical Supervision varies considerably.
360 Supervision strongly believe that to become an effective, safe and resilient Professional Supervisor requires sufficient training to enable the practitioner to develop the distinct knowledge base and skills set required of this role. We believe that a Professional Supervisor also needs to possess the psychological capacity and emotional resilience to offer effective, professional and ethical support within the supervisory relationship. These qualities, attributes and skills need to be evidenced as part of supervisor training, whether independent, or approved/ endorsed by a particular profession, which includes criteria that enables the student to demonstrate their learning, understanding and experience using peer, tutor, and externally moderated evaluation processes.
Currently there is no single definition of ‘Qualified Professional/Clinical Supervisor’ and many senior practitioners, across a variety of professions, are called supervisors, or offer supervision, on the basis they have been doing the job longer and may have attended some training in supervision. Some short training courses have no assessment criteria and we would suggest that these are useful for those who want to develop an understanding of supervision, however, they do not equip someone to undertake the role of Professional Supervisor.
We recommend that interpreters seek a Professional Supervisor who has attended either a Diploma in Supervision or a PG Certificate in Supervision. Both courses provide in-depth training of 120-150 teaching and practice hours to fully equip successful students to carry out their roles and responsibilities. We believe this is particularly important for practitioners outside of counselling and therapy as their practitioner training does not include intra and interpersonal dynamics and awareness necessary when supervising. For example, Sign Language Interpreters who want to become Professional Supervisors are unlikely to have knowledge and understanding of unconscious processes such as transference and projection.
Without adequate appropriate professional support, in a profession where freelance and agency employment is common, Sign Language Interpreters are exposed to the risk of low-high work related stress, vicarious trauma and burnout. Accessing regular, structured and formal professional supervision can sustain and maintain practitioner resilience, well-being, and best practice development.
Professional Supervisors will also possess appropriate up to date insurance, maintain professional membership and commit to their own ongoing supervision arrangements.
Trainings and courses in Professional/Clinical Supervision can vary considerably in the length, depth and breadth and we have compiled a broad outline of the different training currently being listed by supervisors advertising their services. The table is by no means comprehensive, and is drawn from the information supplied by a variety of organisations and professions throughout the U.K. offering training in Supervision, and is intended to offer a broad, objective guide to what training experience a supervisor may have undertaken:
The first cohort of interpreters completed the Diploma in Supervision in 2015. Here is the list of interpreters who have trained through 360 Supervision
Ali Hetherington also offers individual and group supervision from her Manchester base. She also offers Skype, FaceTime and telephone supervision. If you would like more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Having identified a supervisor you are encouraged to consider the following questions to further identify whether the supervisor has the competency and skills required to offer effective professional supervision for a sign language interpreter.
TRAINING UNDERTAKEN TO BECOME A SUPERVISOR
What course did they undertake? There is some variation in courses offered and we suggest you look for supervisors who have completed either a Diploma in Supervision or a PGCert in Supervision. Both courses include approximately 120 – 150 hours teaching and provide practitioners with the depth and breadth of supervision theory and practice to enable them to become effective Professional Supervisors.
Did the training course include the supervision of allied professionals, or just their core profession?
For example, if the course was directed solely at supervising counsellors/psychotherapists then understanding the theory, practice and experience of supervising non counsellors/psychotherapists may be limited.
Did the training include skills practice prior to qualifying?
Courses may vary, with some being mainly ‘seminar’ based, with limited, or no, skills practice.
EXPERIENCE, COMPETENCE AND PROFESSIONAL STANDING
Is the supervisor a registered member of e.g. BACP, UKCP, BPS?
This ensures the Supervisor belongs to, and adheres to, professional, ethical and professional policy.
Is the supervisor insured?
Clarify any insurance held would cover supervision of sign language interpreters.
What experience does the supervisor have to date?
For example, a supervisor who has been in part-time practice for 10 years may have less experience than a supervisor who is in full time practice for 3 years.
HAVE THEY OFFERED GROUP/INDIVIDUAL SUPERVISION?
Have they supervised within organisations and services?
What is their fee scale for both individual and group supervision?
Expect to pay between £40 and £60 an hour for individual (1:1) private supervision, and to meet for 1, 1.5 or 2 hours monthly depending on your needs.
Group supervision is usually two hours a month minimum, ideally with a maximum of four members in the group. The cost is usually shared equally amongst group members.
Ability to offer effective professional supervision to sign language interpreters.
The supervisor should be happy to answer any questions you may have and listen to what you are looking for as a sign language interpreter.
If during your initial contact you believe the supervisor meets your needs, arrange to meet them in person. Many supervisors offer a no fee/reduced fee initial consultation where you would negotiate a contract.