Supervision Master Class : developing and maintaining effective supervisory relationships

A good supervisory relationship (SR) is key to successful supervision, and this workshop will focus on how to develop and maintain a good SR, and will highlight various challenges to this process. Participants will be encouraged to consider their own experiences of SRs which have proved challenging, and strategies for managing difficulties will be discussed. The workshop will include relevant theory and research findings regarding effective supervision and will provide participants with practical skills to prevent, identify and manage any difficulties that may occur.

Provisional timetable:

09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a 30min break for lunch)
16:30 Workshop ends


Supervision is a vital part of the training and practice of many health and social care professions, and there is a growing body of literature suggesting that the supervisory relationship (SR) is an essential part of effective supervision (e.g. Ellis & Ladany 1997). Although much of the literature on supervision is based on research with counsellors and psychotherapists in the U.S, there is a growing body of research examining supervision in the U.K, including research by the facilitators , in Oxford. There are a number of models of supervision which assign the SR a central role (e.g. Holloway, 1995, Bordin, 1983). Holloway’s Systems Approach to Supervision (1995) proposes that the SR is a formal, hierarchical relationship which comprises interpersonal structure (e.g. the histories , characteristics of both supervisor and supervisee, the level of attachment, involvement and power between the two parties), the phase of the relationship (beginning, maturing and terminating), and the supervisory contract (the mutual expectations and the functions and tasks of the SR).

Beinart (2002) explored the supervisory relationship from the perspective of supervisees and developed a grounded theory of effective SRs.  Five categories were highlighted as necessary in providing a framework for the SR to develop - boundaried, supportive, open, respectful and committed. Four categories characterised the process of supervision : collaborative, sensitive to needs, educative and evaluative. Clohessy (2008) developed a grounded theory of the SR from the perspective of experienced supervisors. Three core categories emerged from her study of experienced clinical psychology supervisors: contextual influences on the SR (supervisor and supervisee, service context and training institution), the flow of supervision (which incorporated the supervisors’ investment in supervision and the supervisees’ openness to learning) and the core relational factors of the SR (interpersonal connection, emotional tone of the relationship and the degree of openness, honesty, safety and trust). She suggested a reciprocal relationship between the supervisors’ investment in the SR, the trainees’ openness to learning and the core relational factors. Strains in the relationship could occur in any of these categories, but the supervisors’ continued investment and the supervisees’ openness to learning improved the chances of problems being resolved.

This workshop will be suitable for applied psychologists who have some experience of supervising the therapeutic work of others.

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • to develop an understanding of the importance of a safe supervisory relationship
  • to develop skills in developing an effective supervisory relationship (including cultural competency) and an  understanding of the factors that can  enhance or hinder this process.
  • to develop skills in effective contracting for supervision, and for the supervisory relationship
  • to develop skills in noticing, naming and resolving difficulties in the supervisory relationship
  • to understand and use key models and current research findings to enhance supervisory practice

Facilitators: Dr Helen Beinart CPsychol AFBPsS & Dr Sue Clohessy CPsychol

Helen Beinart is Director (Clinical and Professional) on the Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology and has written and taught widely on supervision. She is author of a chapter on Models of supervision and the supervisory relationship, in Fleming, I. and Steen, L. (2011), Supervision and Clinical psychology and has published with Sue Clohessy on clinical supervision in Beinart, H., Kennedy, P. & Llewelyn, S. (2009), Clinical Psychology in Practice. She has conducted her own research and supervised 5 doctoral dissertations in the area of Clinical supervision and supervisory relationships resulting in 2 measures of the SR, the Supervisory Relationship questionnaire (SRQ) published in BJCP (2010) and the Supervisory Relationship Measure (SRM). She has over 30 years experience as a clinical supervisor.

Sue Clohessy is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, and has worked as a clinical tutor on the Oxford DClinPsych course for 11 years, where she leads the supervisor training programme. She has developed an introductory course on clinical supervision for local supervisors of the Oxford course, which is BPS Learning Centre Approved. She has extensive experience in training on supervision, and is particularly interested in the supervisory relationship. She completed a post-qualification doctorate in this area in 2008. She has co-authored chapters on supervision, and is currently writing up her research for publication.

Booking information


Non-Society Member: £90 (£79.17 + VAT)
Society Member: £60 (£52.50 + VAT)
DCP Member: £30 (£25.50 + VAT)

From 1 January 2013:

Non-Society Member: £95 (£75 + VAT)
Society Member: £63 (£50 + VAT)
DCP Member: £33 (£25 + VAT)

The cost of attending this workshop has been subsidised by the Society's Division of Clinical Psychology.

How to book:

To pay by cheque or request an invoice, complete and return the registration form.

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests more than 6 weeks before the event date.

Wed, 15/05/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

BPS Learning Centre & Division of Clinical Psychology