Hypnotherapy Supervision: 12 things you always wanted to know

Over the last several weeks, I've been asked about #hypnotherapy #supervision and CPD (continuous professional development) a lot. It's an easy subject to worry about whether you're a student, a new graduate or a practitioner, especially given the commitment in time and money you are being asked to make. But CPD and supervision are both designed to make you better at what you do, so it’s worth giving them some serious thought.
Let's see what all the fuss is about starting with supervision and I'll cover CPD in a later article.

  1. What’s the difference between supervision and CPD?
    Supervision is aimed at reviewing skills you already have, to make sure you are using them effectively both from your own point of view and your clients'. CPD is a commitment to life-long learning and is intended to develop new skills and consolidate or improve existing ones.
  2. What's the point of Hypnotherapy Supervision?
    It’s to make sure you are looking after your clients and yourself. It can also cover how you build your business, setting business goals, and any other topic which will make you a more effective therapist.
  3. Who has to do it?
    Many industries, especially the caring ones like nursing and counselling, expect their practitioners to be in supervision. For UK hypnotherapists your professional body will almost certainly make this a compulsory process at the beginning of your career, and career-long supervision is strongly encouraged.
  4. Why bother?
    My driving instructor used to say he would teach me to pass my test and I’d learn to drive after that. He was right. Hypnotherapy practitioner training is similar in many ways, and however good it is it can’t give you experience. The period following graduation can be a very steep learning curve, especially if you haven't been self-employed before. During training you always had your tutor to turn to, once qualified your supervisor takes over that role.
  5. How much supervision do I need?
    This will vary depending on your professional body. The General Hypnotherapy Register asks for at least two hours a quarter for at least two years. Some bodies have different guidelines depending on whether you are seeing clients full time or part-time, so ask when you join. You should keep a comprehensive record of all your supervision, with proof, since random audits are carried out. Some professional bodies provide template record forms, but a spreadsheet will often do just as well.
  6. How do I take supervision?
    Supervision is usually carried out
    - one to one, usually in person or by phone/skype. In this case, your supervisor must be significantly more experienced than you are
    - in supervision group meetings with an experienced/approved supervisor in charge, although everyone is generally encouraged to offer ideas
    - in peer support groups, where everyone is likely to be at a similar level of experience and training
  7. What about other methods, like online?
    It’s possible to get a kind of peer supervision via email or discussion groups on social media; these can provide you with some excellent ideas and resources but are not ideal as a method of supervision. Not least because your professional body will set a minimum number of hours for your supervision and it’s difficult to calculate or verify this for written communications. There are also confidentiality and Data Protection issues with sharing any client information online.
  8. How do I find a supervisor?
    Most professional bodies have rules about who can be a supervisor, or a list of 'approved' supervisors and supervision groups, so that's a good place to start.
  9. What about client confidentiality?
    It’s OK to ask for help with clients during supervision if you need it, as long is this is done in a way which prevents them from being recognised or identified.
  10. What about paying for supervision?
    Whichever type of supervision you choose you will have to pay, although supervision fees and any attendant travel costs should be treated as a business expense.
  11. Groups or one to one?
    Groups tend to be cheaper, and give you a chance to mingle with others who understand the rewards and challenges of the job you do. As a therapist, you are usually working alone and it’s nice to get this chance.
    On the other hand, groups are less personal and flexible than one to one supervisors. Time to discuss your problem may be limited if others have issues too, and questions don’t always arise conveniently timed for meetings.
    Supervision groups generally meet at a physical venue, so geography might be important. Most one to one supervisors offer phone supervision, so geography doesn’t really matter - call a few and choose someone on your wavelength.
    Ask for a written contract about what services are being offered, what prices will be charged and when these are likely to be reviewed.
    It’s perfectly possible to utilise both and have a one to one supervisor as well as joining a group so you get the best of both worlds. This is my advice to my new graduates.
  12. Finally, the big question, do I practice what I preach?
    In brief, yes. I have been qualified since 2003 and still find supervision a valuable part of my practice. It encourages self-reflection, keeps me focused on my business goals and offers a support network if I need it.


Author: is Senior Tutor At Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training, which offers multi accredited hypnotherapy practitioner training in Wakefield and York, along with taster days and foundation levels. YHT also offers supervision and continuous professional development (CPD) courses for established hypnotherapists. Please contact Debbie to find out more.


  1. I've always found regular supervision really valuable. It's so helpful to be able to get advice on therapy issues and techniques, and explore ideas with someone more experienced than yourself. Especially when self-employed, it's also great to receive moral support and encouragement if and when things aren't going according to plan. Thanks Debbie!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Viv, I agree about the advice; no matter how skilled or experienced you are it's always good to talk to others in the same field, get their moral support and listen to their ideas.

  2. I agree - Supervision is important and as a Counsellor I take part in this all the time. It also allows interaction with other professionals, as being self employed can be isolating. Feedback is so important and we can sometimes get 'stuck' in our own techniques and methods. I think it is great Debbie...................wish I lived there to take part in the Professional Development a well. (I'm in British Columbia, Canada) LOL www.amindfulconnection.com is who I am. Thanks for doing this. Warmly, Carole

    1. I agree Carol, this kind of self employment can be isolating. You see and speak to clients but it's a different kind of relationship to the one you have with colleagues. There is some professional development on line - webinars and suchlike. Maybe that would be a thought for you if there's nothing local?


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