Frequently Asked Questions
Which is best individual or group supervision?
It all depends on what your preference is as both can be equally effective they are just different. Some people prefer the focus of one-to-one supervision, where you have the full attention of your supervisor and others enjoy discussing their work in a group situation and getting input from colleagues as well as their supervisor. Some people choose to have both and there is always the option to change from group to individual supervision or visa versa.
How can I be sure the sessions are confidential?
Supervision sessions are confidential and whether you meet face to face or remotely, it will always be in a confidential place, free from interruption. Sign language interpreters and other communication professionals form a small community and if you are working with a Supervisor from within the interpreting or lip-speaking profession they will be explicit about what they will put in place to maintain boundaries and ensure confidentiality. Your Supervisor will have supervision of their supervision practice to ensure they are supporting you in the best way they can (issues are always discussed anonymously).
Developing a trusting relationship is key for supervision and therefore you need to choose a Supervisor who you are comfortable to talk through your work with. Trust is something that will take time to develop, and your Supervisor will model good boundaries to help establish a foundation you can build on.
What will happen the first time I meet a supervisor?
Most Supervisors offer a free initial consultation, and this offers you the opportunity to meet a few before choosing one that you feel is a good fit.
When you first meet your Supervisor, you will discuss and agree how you will work together and where you will meet. Your Supervisor will explain what you can expect from supervision and guide you through the process. You will also be able to ask any questions you may have. You will both agree to a supervision contract which outlines what you can expect from your Supervisor and what they will expect
How long is each supervision session?
Individual sessions are often 60 or 90 minutes, depending on your needs. You decide how long you want the session to be and this can be negotiated with your Supervisor. For example, you may find that 60 minutes is not enough and you may wish to specify a longer session.
Group supervision sessions are often between 2-3 hours depending on the number of supervisees.
Can supervision be done remotely?
Yes, supervision sessions can take place face to face, or via a remote platform such as Zoom or Skype. You may wish to see a supervisor from outside of your area and remote supervision allows for this, you may also have some face to face sessions with your supervisor if this is possible.
Do I need to train to become a Professional Supervisor?
Experienced practitioners will have a wealth of knowledge and experience, however, the role of a professional supervisor is complex and multi-faceted and requires its own core skills, knowledge and attributes in order to work effectively and ethically. Supervision is not just about what supervisors do it is how they do it and in-depth training is vital to develop the necessary skills, self-awareness and careful judgment required of the role. See Ali’s blog for more information.
How often will I have supervision?
When you first meet your supervisor you will discuss and agree how you will work together and how often you will meet. You can expect to see your supervisor for approximately an hour every 4-6 weeks, however, there may be times when you would like supervision more often and you can discuss this with your supervisor. A supervisor is there to support you in the best way they can and will guide you through the process so don’t be afraid to ask them any questions you may have.
What can I talk about in supervision?
You decide what you want to discuss in supervision and can bring anything that relates to your practice. Practitioners often bring issues they may have with co-workers, clients, agencies and other professionals. This may include maintaining professional boundaries, managing conflict, the emotional impact of certain jobs and maintaining working conditions.
There may be times when personal issues surface that outside of the remit of supervision, and you supervisor is trained to recognise this and signpost you if necessary.
What is the difference between NRCPD Supervision and Professional Supervision?
Although both refer to supervision they are two distinct roles, which we have outlined below:
NRCPD supervision is a requirement for all TSLIs.
NRCPD supervisors work on behalf of the NRCPD and their role is to monitor the progress of the TSLI throughout their training. As such they are expected to inform NRCPD if they believe the trainee is not meeting the Trainee Sign Language Interpreter Standards and they are also a point of contact if NRCPD wish to discuss the TSLI’s performance.
NRCPD supervisors provide the NRCPD with a record of their quarterly meetings with their trainee, including the content of the sessions, and they are also responsible for signing the trainee’s development plan.
The NRCPD supervisors are responsible for verifying that the trainee’s endorser is suitably qualified and they may take on the dual role of the trainee’s NRCPD supervisor and assessor. They are expected to be a RSLI and have a qualification in teaching, verifying, assessing mentoring or supervising in order to carry out the role.
Professional Supervision is an opportunity for supervisees to explore, discuss and reflect upon the issues, emotions and dilemmas that can originate from their work and is equally relevant at all stages of an Interpreter’s career – from new TSLIs through to experienced RSLIs.
Supervisees choose their Professional Supervisor and sessions are supervisee lead, as such supervisees decide what they wish to discuss in their supervision sessions.
Supervisees meet with their Professional Supervisor on a regular basis, often monthly. On- going exploration of their practice with a Professional Supervisor encourages the development of skills, fosters a deeper understanding of the supervisee’s work and increases their self-awareness. This reflection enables interpreters to maintain professional boundaries whilst being flexible as the role requires.
Professional Supervision is a highly effective way for interpreters to look after their mental and emotional health and well-being in an effort to avoid stress, vicarious trauma and burnout, all of which can lead to interpreters leaving the profession.
A Professional Supervisor will have completed a recognised training course and will receive ongoing supervision of their supervision practice to ensure they are working ethically and effectively.
I’ve been an interpreter for years and never had supervision, how will it help me?
Supervision is a highly effective way for you to take a step back, reflect on your practice and look after your mental health, emotional health, and well-being at any stage in your career. Interpreting assignments can be emotionally demanding and witnessing the distress of others can be distressing for interpreters and other communication professionals. Understanding our own personal responses to people and situations can increase resilience and reduce work related stress, vicarious trauma, and burnout, all of which can lead
For freelance practitioners supervision offers a safe and confidential forum in which to discuss their work, to address ‘blind spots’, and to identify and address areas of development to maintain best practice by using appreciative enquiry and supportive challenge.
I have peer supervision with some of my friends who are interpreters, what is different about having a professional supervisor?
Peer groups are not facilitated by a qualified and independent supervisor, this can lead to colleagues being reluctant to disagree with or challenge each other, and as a result peer support can be unwittingly ‘collusive’ as challenging close colleagues, who may also be friends, can be difficult. Professional supervision is a contracted professional relationship that is objective and non-judgemental. A Supervisor is trained to offer support and invite you to consider your actions and working practices, which may, at times, feel challenging, however, it will always be done in a supportive manner.
Can I have supervision just when I have a dilemma?
Whilst supervision is used to effectively address dilemmas and concerns it is also used to address ongoing reflection, learning and development.
I have had therapy in the past, isn’t this the same as supervision?
Supervision is a professionally contracted relationship which is different to therapy, as it is primarily a forum in which to address professional practice, not personal issues and concerns. A professional supervisor, however, will be able to support you to discuss the emotional impact the work may be having on you. This is different from therapy and if the issues go deeper, they may signpost you to appropriate support.
How much does Supervision cost?
Supervision costs can vary and you can expect to pay £40 – 60 an hour. A professionally qualified supervisor will have undertaken considerable additional training and will be accessing their own regular supervision.
What do I look for when choosing a Supervisor?
It is important that you choose a supervisor who you feel comfortable talking to enable you to openly reflect on your practice. You may wish to choose a supervisor within your profession as they will understand the context in which you work. Alternatively, you might look for someone outside of your field and you may have to educate your supervisor about the intricacies and nuances of your profession, but this can often be a surprisingly useful and revealing process in itself.
We suggest contacting a few before you decide who is the best fit for you. A good supervisor will have the relevant qualifications and be in receipt of supervision for their supervision practice. 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. This is particularly important for supervisors working outside of counselling and therapy as their practitioner training does not include intra and interpersonal dynamics and awareness necessary when supervising.
You an find more information on where to look for supervisors on the website.
This comparison chart will give you an idea of different courses: