Competencies for Pastoral Supervision

SETTING THE FOUNDATION

1. Meeting ethical guidelines and professional standards.

At Accredited and Senior Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Understands and exhibits in own behaviours the APSE Code of Conduct.
  2. Clearly communicates the distinctions between pastoral supervision, counselling, psychotherapy and other support professions.
  3. Refers clients to another support professional as needed, knowing when this is needed and the available resources.

Familiarity with the code of ethics and its application is required for all levels of pastoral supervision and the standard for demonstrating a strong ethical understanding of pastoral supervision is similar and rigorous at both levels of accreditation.

An applicant will pass this competency if they demonstrate a knowledge of the pastoral supervision conversation that is focused on inquiry and exploration and if the conversation is based on present and future issues. An applicant will not pass this competency if the applicant focuses primarily on telling the supervisee what to do or how to do it (consulting mode) or if the conversation is based primarily in the past, particularly the emotional past (therapeutic mode).

2. Establishing the pastoral supervision covenant / contract which includes the opportunity to review the working relationship during and at the end of the contract. This also includes the ability to understand what is required in the specific pastoral supervision interaction and to come to an agreement with the supervisee about the supervisory process and relationship.

Key Skills evaluated:

  1. The depth and breadth of the supervision covenant.
  2. The depth of the contract/agreement for the supervision session.
  3. The supervisor’s ability to partner the supervisee in the creation of the covenant and contract/agreement for supervision session.

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Understands and effectively discusses with the supervisee the boundaries and practicalities of the supervisory relationship. (including logistics, fees, scheduling etc.)
  2. Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the supervisor/supervisee relationship, what is being offered as pastoral supervision and about the supervisor’s and the supervisee’s responsibilities.
  3. Determines whether or not there is an effective match between the supervisor’s way of working and the needs of the supervisee.
  4. Is able to set up and conduct an effective review of the supervisory relationship after an agreed number of meetings.
  5. Is able to bring the supervisory relationship to a satisfactory ending for both supervisor and supervisee.

An applicant will pass this competence at Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the pastoral supervisor sets up a basic covenant for the relationship and in the supervision session asks the supervisee what they want to bring to supervision and the supervisor attends to the supervisee’s agenda throughout the session.

An applicant will pass this competence at Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if in addition to above the supervisor asks the asks the supervisee what they want to work on, explores and confirms that the agenda is meaningful for the supervisee and will move the supervisee toward desired outcomes and the supervisor engages in some exploration of the measures of success for each outcome desired in the session. The supervisor attends to the supervisee’s agenda throughout the supervision. The supervisor may raise unseen issues to the supervisee, but will not change agendas, measures, or issues unless redirected by the supervisee.

CO-CREATING THE RELATIONSHIP

3. Establishing trust and intimacy by building relationships which are conducive to learning and to understanding systems and organisations. This requires an ability to create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust.

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Shows genuine concern for the supervisee’s welfare and future.
  2. Continuously demonstrates personal integrity, honesty and sincerity.
  3. Establishes clear agreements and keeps promises.
  4. Demonstrates respect for supervisee’s perceptions, personal being and learning style.
  5. Provides ongoing support for and champions new behaviours and actions.
  6. Asks permission to supervise in sensitive or new areas of supervisee’s work.

Key skills evaluated:

  1. The supervisor’s depth of connection with the supervisee.
  2. The supervisor’s depth of trust in the supervisee and their thought processes.
  3. The supervisor’s willingness to be comfortable in themselves with the supervisee.

An applicant will pass this competence at Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the pastoral supervisor shows genuine concern for the supervisee and is attuned to the supervisee’s perceptions, learning style personality at a basic level.

An applicant will pass this competence at Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor shows genuine concern for the supervisee and builds an effective working relationship with the supervisee. The supervisor is attuned to and demonstrates trust in the supervisee’s perceptions, learning style, and personality. The supervisor must also demonstrate an ability to provide ongoing support for new behaviours and actions as well as an invitation to the supervisee to participate in the development and creation of those new behaviours.

FACILITATING LEARNING AND INSIGHT

4. Demonstrating the shape of a supervisory session in order that learning and development happen which will enrich the supervisee’s practice.

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to shape a supervision session which enables the supervisee to:
    • get their work into the room.
    • gather enough information to enable them to explore their supervision issue using a variety of tools and approaches.
    • build a bridge back into the supervisee’s ministry/practice.
    • articulate the learning from supervision in relation to what they brought.

Key skills evaluated:

  1. An ability to create a framework for a supervision session which allows the supervisee to move from questions about a recent piece of their ministerial/work practice to new insight and a different way of acting in their future work/ministry.
  2. An ability to create a space where the supervisee can set and work with their own agenda towards their desired outcome, without being told what to do.
  3. An ability to enable the supervisee to discern what it is important for them to explore in supervision without the supervisor being directive.
  4. An ability to work with the supervisee to create opportunities for learning and development in supervision which will enable the supervisee to act differently in their work/ministry context.

An applicant will pass this competence at Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor is able to describe the shape of a supervision session and demonstrate an ability to be present to the supervisee in the supervision process, creates space where the supervisee can formulate and work with their own agenda by employing a style that is open, flexible and confident.

An applicant will pass this competence at Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor attends to the supervisee’s agenda and creates a space where the supervisee is able to work with it and seeks information from the supervisee and is responsive to that information as it relates to the supervisee’s growth and development in relation to their practice. The supervisor is also attentive to how the supervisee wants to work with their issue and responsive to appropriate requests from the supervisee. The supervisor work in a non-directive way to enable the supervisee to identify learning and insights which lead to changes in the way the supervisee works.

While being aware of the essential forward momentum for supervision and the basic structure of a supervisory session, the supervisor must not be overly reliant on particular structures or tools at this level.

5. Demonstrating the ability to draw on a range of skills to enable the supervisee to raise and work with their supervision issue.

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Demonstrate a wide range of skills to enable the supervisee to work with their issue in a way which is helpful and appropriate for them. This will include:
    • cultural sensitivity to the supervisee’s work and context.
    • an ability to use a wide range of methods to enable the supervisee to bring their work into the supervisory space, including visual, tactile and physical methods.
    • active listening which enables the supervisor to focus on what the supervisee is saying and is not saying.
    • powerful questioning that reveals the information needed for maximum benefit to the supervisory relationship and the supervisee.

Key skills evaluated:

  1. The ability to empathise with the supervisee and view their issue from the perspective of the supervisee’s world view.
  2. The ability to use methods beyond simple questions to enable the supervisee to get their work into the room, this might involve using range of tools including: metaphor, Imago, pictures, drawing, writing, body sculpting for example.
  3. Listening at a deep empathetic level for meaning beyond the words and action of the supervisee. Is able to summarise, understand the essence and reflect back what the supervisee is saying.
  4. Asks reflective, open questions which reflect active listening and an understanding of the supervisee’s perspective and evoke discovery, insight, commitment or action. Questions which the supervisee to move forward.

An applicant will pass at Accredited Pastoral supervisor level if the supervisor is able to show that they are able to empathise with the supervisee and appreciate their cultural context; hears what the supervisee says and listens in order to enable the supervisee to work with their agenda and uses questioning rather than telling.

An applicant will pass at Senior Accredited Pastoral supervisor level if the supervisor is able to empathise with the supervisee, appreciate their cultural context and encourage the supervisee to explore alternative cultural perceptions; listens on a conscious level and hears what the supervisee is saying in relation to the supervisee’s agenda, the supervisor listens in order to work with the supervisee where they are. The supervisor demonstrates an ability to hear how the supervisee thinks, creates, learns and incorporates those observations into the supervisor’s response. There is also evidence that the supervisee has taken notice of the supervisee’s use of language in their responses to the supervisee. The supervisee also demonstrates ability to hear strengths as well as challenges. The supervisee’s questions must attend to the supervisee’s agenda and include a mix of informational, evocative and explorative questions, the mix being weighted towards evocative rather than informational. The questions must enable the supervisee to go below the surface of their issue. The questions should arise from the supervisor listening to the supervisee at several different levels and should be based on the supervisee’s language rather than the supervisor’s.

6. Demonstrating an ability to recognise and respect the faith of the supervisee and their work context to enable them to develop the capacity to reflect theologically

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Demonstrates an ability to develop and work within a framework of spiritual/theological understanding.
  2. Is able to work with a theological/spiritual framework in dialogue with the supervisee’s world view and work context.

Key skills evaluated:

  1. The supervisor’s ability to facilitate theological reflection on the supervisee’s work.
  2. The supervisor’s ability to develop a framework for theological reflection.
  3. The supervisor’s ability to contract to work with the supervisee using the supervisee’s spiritual/theological reflection framework.
  4. The supervisor’s creative use of scripture in the supervision conversation where it is appropriate.

An applicant will pass this competence at Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the pastoral supervisor is able to facilitate values based reflection on the supervisee’s work using an appropriate spiritual/theological framework.

An applicant will pass this competence at Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor shows a capacity for deep and rigorous theological reflection which is appropriate to the context of the supervisee. The supervisor has developed a clear theological framework for use in their own reflection on their work as supervisor and is able to work with their supervisees using the supervisee’s spiritual/theological framework. The supervisor is able to use scripture creatively and appropriately in the supervisory relationship to deepen the supervisee’s insights into their work.

7. Demonstrating an ability to bring appropriate* psychological insights into dialogue with different helping professions and contexts.

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Demonstrates an ability to develop and work within an appropriate psychological framework.
  2. Is able to bring an appropriate psychological framework into dialogue with the supervisee’s world view and work context.

*Appropriate here refers to the needs of the client and to the competence on the supervisor. It is not expected that pastoral supervisors will have a professional qualification in psychology but that they are able to work competently with the key skills listed below.

Key skills evaluated:

  1. The supervisor’s ability to work with feelings, their own and those of the supervisee.
  2. The supervisor’s ability to identify with the supervisee underlying concerns, typical and fixed ways of perceiving and disparities between thought, feelings and actions.
  3. The ability to help supervisees to see different and interrelated factors that affect them and their behaviours (e.g. thoughts, emotions, body, background.)
  4. The supervisor’s ability to contract to use psychological concepts and models to facilitate deeper understanding and insight in the supervisee in relation to their work where appropriate.
  5. The supervisor’s ability to contract to make offerings of psychological insights with detachment.
  6. The supervisor’s ability to recognise the boundary between supervision and therapy or counselling; along with a clear recognition of the supervisor’s own level of competency in using psychological insights.

An applicant will pass this competence at Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor is able to recognise and describe examples of basic psychological processes such as transference, counter-transference, splitting and projection; and shows they are able to recognise them when they are present in the supervisory relationship. Further the supervisor should not appear attached to any particular psychological insight.

An applicant will pass this competency at Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level if the supervisor has a sufficient base of psychological tools to make interpretations that help the supervisee to gain awareness and move forward. Further the supervisor is able make offerings to illuminate the supervisee’s fixed ways of thinking that might inhibit growth and development with detachment, as these insights of the supervisor may not be true for the supervisee. The supervisor demonstrates an ability to help the supervisee to integrate new psychological awareness as it applies to their work.

CAPTURING LEARNING AND INSIGHT

8. Professional development as a pastoral supervisor. What have your supervisees taught you? How does your way of supervising contribute to the formation of the supervisee? What are you aware of as your strengths and weaknesses – what areas do you want to develop in yourself?

At Accredited and Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor level:

  1. Submit a supervision log.
  2. Submit a log of supervision received on your supervision.
  3. Demonstrate the key learning points arising from the pastoral supervision you have given.
  4. Demonstrate the key learning points you have received from pastoral supervision you have received.
  5. List courses related to pastoral supervision you have attended and how they relate to the competencies.
  6. What are your strengths as a supervisor – give evidence for your response.
  7. Where do you need to strengthen your practice?

9. How do you hold appropriate role authority as a supervisor? What are you modelling in your supervision practice?