Shohet’s Seven-Eyed Model Week 1

What Is Supervision? The Process Model

There are many areas of Supervision: Clinical Supervision, Counselling Supervision, Organisational Supervision, Educational Supervision and indeed Coaching Supervision.

On this site[1] we will be providing articles, blogs etc., on all areas of Supervision, though specifically Psychotherapy and Counselling Supervision.

Clinical Supervision, which covers both the Psychotherapy and Counselling worlds, is a relatively new profession. If we look back at the 1950s / 1960s we see that Clinical Supervision was mainly used in the area of Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic World. By the 1970s / 1980s the teaching and nursing professions started to explore the use of Supervision in their professional practices.  Both of these professions use Supervision mainly as an educative discipline rather than an interpretive and analytical discipline.

With the emergence of psychotherapy and counselling post 1950s we see the proliferation of Supervision into these disciplines. Also we saw in the 1980s the inclusion of Supervision into the Managerial and Occupational Sectors.

Clinical Supervision for Psychotherapy and Counselling has come of age in the 21st century and we see that there has been a huge number of books and articles written on the subject of Supervision within the last three decades. A recent definition of Supervision which I like is

“Supervision is a working alliance between two professionals where supervisees offer an account of their work, reflect on it, receive feedback, and receive guidance if appropriate.  The object of this alliance is to enable the worker to gain in ethical competency, confidence and creativity as to give the best possible services to clients”.  (Inskipp and Proctor, 2001)

It is fair to say that the major players in any Clinical Supervision are: The Supervisor, The Supervisee/Therapist, The Client. Within this framework Supervision is primarily focused on the Supervisor helping the Supervisee/Therapist to develop their specific skills in the service of the client. There are many models, tools, and techniques as well as information to help the Supervisor in this process. Two specific models that are useful in this context are :

The “Seven-eyed Model” sometimes called the Process Model.  This model was developed by Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet in their book “Supervision in the Helping Professions” (1989)

The “IDM Model” which is a Professional Developmental model created and developed by Stoltenberg and Delworth 2001 and written extensively about in their book called an “Integrative Developmental Model”  (2000).

The “Seven-eyed Model” or Process Model is specifically useful in providing a map for the Supervisor to know where they are, at any time, within the Supervisor relationship with the Supervisee. What is also particularly useful when using this model is the focusing on the particular “Modes” that the Supervisor/Supervisee will visit.


Modes within this Model

  • Mode 1 – The Supervisor within this Mode will be focusing on helping the Supervisee sharpen their “Behavioural Observation” when working with the clients.
  • Mode 2  – The Supervisor, when focusing on “Mode 2” will be facilitating the Supervisee to look at the strategies, goals, contracts, and treatment plans – direction for the client.  In this Mode there will be an emphasis on the nuts and bolts of interventions within the therapeutic relationship. In other words “Why” the Supervisee/Therapist decided to use that specific intervention at that specific time within the therapy relationship.
  • Mode 3  – The Supervisor when focusing on “Mode 3” will be helping the Supervisee to concentrate on the “Dance” between the Supervisee and the Client in the therapy relationship. In other words to look at the transference projections of the client on the therapist within the therapy relationship. The use of metaphor and imagery are useful techniques for this particular stage.
  • Mode 4 – The Supervisor when focusing on “Mode 4” will be looking particularly at the counter-transference of the Supervisee/Therapist within the therapy relationship of themselves and the client
  • Mode 5 – The Supervisor in “Mode 5” will be looking at the relationship between the Supervisor and Supervisee within the Supervisors Office.
  • Mode 6 – The Supervisor in “Mode 6” will be looking specifically at this own counter-transference within the Supervisor/Supervisee relationship. Mode 6 and Mode 5 are useful Modes to look at the “Parallel Process” between the Supervisor/Supervisee and the Supervisee/Therapist and their client.
  • Mode 7 – The Supervisor in this Mode will help the Supervisee concentrate on the Organisational and wider Environmental restraints on the Supervision.

This “Seven-eyed Model” provides a comprehensive and systemic model for examining the process of Supervision.   It will be useful for Supervisors and Supervisees alike.

Another Supervision Model which compliments this model is the “IDM Model”, first postulated, as said above, by Stoltenberg and Delworth (2000). This Model is a Professional Developmental Model. The authors of this Model put forward the case that for effective Supervision to take place, the Supervisor needs to be aware of the Professional Developmental needs of the Supervisee/Therapist. Also the Supervisor needs to be aware of the use of “Parallel Process” as a major tool within Supervision. If the Supervisor is aware of such concepts as parallel process and the two models mentioned above then I believe more effective Supervision is likely to take place. Other models, such as the “Procedural Model” and the “Tasks of Supervision” are also useful in the art of Supervision.



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