julia tolley psychotherapist and counsellor, halesowen, west midlands
Julia Tolley - Supervisory Services for professional psychotherapists.

Supervision Service to Professional Psychotherapists, Counsellors and Coaches

A Supervision Service for professional psychotherapists in the West Midlands area

There are many different supervisory models, but one of the most commonly used is the seven-eyed model. This model is a framework that can be used in the supervision of Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Coaches. The model was developed by Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet and is covered in detail in their book Supervision In The Helping Professions.
The seven-eyed model provides a very useful framework for supervisory sessions and includes the different areas that supervision can focus on. The model can act as a checklist for supervisors and supervisees.

The seven modes of supervision highlighted by the model are as detailed below.

1. Focus on the client and how they present. This mode focuses on what actually happened in the sessions with clients, how they presented themselves, what they chose to discuss and how this relates to previous sessions. The aim of this mode is to help the therapist pay attention to their clients, their clients’ choices and the connections between various aspects of their clients’ situation.
2. Exploration of the strategies and interventions used by the therapist. This mode focuses on the strategies and interventions used by the therapist, including which ones, when and why they were used. This may help in developing alternative strategies and interventions, as well as discussing potential consequences. The aim of this mode is to increase the strategies and interventions available to the therapist.
3. Exploration of the relationship between the client and the therapist. This mode focuses on what is happening in the relationships between the therapist and their clients. The aim of this mode is to help the therapist gain a greater insight and understanding of the dynamics of their relationships with their clients.
4. Focus on the therapist. This mode focuses on how the therapist is affected by their work with their clients, both consciously and subconsciously, and how they deal with this. This includes both the therapist’s well being and their development. The aim of this mode is to increase the capacity of the therapist to engage with their clients and to more effectively handle their responses.
5. Focus on the supervisory relationship. This mode focuses on what is happening in the relationship between the supervisor and the therapist. The aims of this mode are to ensure that the supervisor/therapist relationship is working well and to explore how the therapist/clients relationships may be playing out or paralleling in the supervisor/therapist relationship.
6. The supervisor focusing on their own process. This mode is where the supervisor pays attention to what they are experiencing in the sessions. The aim of this mode is for the supervisor to use their responses to provide another source of information to the therapist.
7. Focus on the wider context in which the work happens. This mode takes into consideration the wider context in which the work happens, including the context of the clients, the context of the therapist’s profession, the context of the therapist/clients and supervisor/therapist relationships and the wider world of the therapist and supervisor. The aim is to understand and pay attention to the wider context as part of the supervision.

Supervision should involve all seven of the above modes, but not necessarily in every session. The use of the different modes will also vary with the developmental stage of the therapist.
A therapist who is new to their work will want to focus mainly on the content of their work with their clients and the detail of what happened in each session. They will also need help understanding the wider context, therefore the focus will be in modes 1 and 7.
As the therapist gets more experienced it will be possible to spend time in mode 2 as well, and as the therapist develops further all modes will have their place in the supervision.