Supervision: EFT with Couples
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Supervision: EFT with Couples

    On 16 Feb, 2024

Good supervision overlaps with teaching and therapy. Whether the therapist works with individuals, couples, families or groups, a good relationship with a supervisor can help the therapist succeed in their career and manage the emotional intensity of the therapeutic work. A supervisor is a mentor who guides the supervisee without being too controlling while providing sufficient safety and modelling good therapeutic practices. 

In our three-part series on supervision, we first spoke to Tima El Jamil, a psychodynamic psychotherapist and supervisor at MapleTree Psychotherapy in Dubai. Next, we talked to psychologist and EMDR supervisor Shaima Al Fardan, who works at Mudabala Health, also in Dubai.

In this final part of our series, we spoke to Beata Zielińska-Rocha, a couples therapist and supervisor using Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT). Beata originally studied English philology and trained as a teacher. She became a trainer and supervisor for teachers. Later, she trained as a psychologist and psychotherapist. She supervises therapists working with individuals and couples. Beata offers therapy and supervision in Polish, English and Spanish.  

Supervisors help therapists have a better life professionally

Beata changed career paths from teaching to psychology but found herself drawn to similar elements in both careers: supervising and teaching. ‘It seems that there is a circularity to my life’, says Beata. ‘I stopped doing what I used to do, but I am now doing the same thing but in a different field.’ She felt that something seemed to be missing when she became a therapist and stopped supervising and teaching. 

Beata explains that she likes helping others learn and become better at what they are doing. ‘It’s similar because when you are a therapist, you also help people have a better life. Being a supervisor is different, but is also, in a way, helping people have a better life in their profession. It is about helping therapists be less stuck and to feel more confident’, Beata continues.

Another reason Beata wanted to become a supervisor was that she saw her supervisor’s work and really liked what she was doing. She thought to herself that she’d like to do the same. The third reason Beata became a supervisor was that she knew that when she taught others, she learnt. ‘It is one of the best ways of learning to me. I wanted to become a supervisor to become grounded in what I was doing as a therapist,’ Beata explains.

Beata recommends therapists go through the EFT supervisor certification process. She says, ‘…the feedback you get from the reviewer of your certification was, at least in my case, it was really helpful. They could see that I was good at what I was doing, and at the same time, I got corrective feedback, and I could still learn something.

Individual and group supervision

At the moment, Beata offers both group and individual supervision. She has about 15-20 individual supervisees and two groups of four supervisees. She is looking to expand her groups to five or six participants. Beata also offers a seminar format where the first hour is about learning about the EFT model, and the second is supervision. 

Group supervision lasts two hours. Two supervisees present during each session, and they get feedback from everybody in the group. Sometimes, there also is time to discuss a short supervision question.

Beata’s areas of interest are the initial consultations, the attachment injury resolution model and sexuality. 

Session recordings

Beata explains that when the supervisees are not yet certified and are still learning the EFT model, the focus is on learning about de-escalation and the negative cycle. In the EFT supervision model, supervisees must present a session recording. Beata continues, ‘It really makes a difference in learning. Sometimes, supervisees don’t bring recordings, and we just talk about the couple. We do case conseptualisation.’ 

Beata acknowledges that both sessions can be helpful, but case conceptualisations are more generic, while session recordings get specific. ‘With a recording, the supervisee learns what they are doing and what they need to change. It also will help that specific couple. In EFT supervision, you need to be where your supervisee is, just as the therapist needs to be where the couple is.’

There is a significant overlap between EFT therapy and EFT supervision.

EFT supervision is very much similar to EFT therapy. Everything we believe in as far as therapy goes is similar to what we believe in regarding supervision.

Beata Zielińska-Rocha

The structure of the supervision session

A supervision session starts with Beata checking how the supervisee is doing at that moment. ‘The present process is important’, Beata explains. Next, the supervisee shares their supervision question. Beata encourages them to think of what they need from their session. How can the supervisor be of help? What would tell the supervisee that the supervision was successful? 

When a supervisee brings a session recording, the supervisee introduces the couple. Beata wants to know about the couple’s cycle. Who is the pursuer, and who is the withdrawer? Is the cycle attack-attack or attack-withdraw? Which stage are the couple in; are they in Stage 1 or 2? Sometimes, Beata asks questions about the process. Does the couple get stuck somewhere? Does the supervisee need help with the couples therapy process in general? What does the supervisee need regarding this particular work that they are showing? 

Next, Beata and the supervisee watch part of the recording of the couples therapy session. Sometimes, they stop while watching and discuss it, while something they watch the watch the clip through. Then, they refer to the supervisee’s question and start processing the recording. 

ACES: The EFT supervision model

In EFT supervision, the model used is called ACES. The acronym stands for Alliance, Cognitive, Experiential and Self-of-the-Therapist. 

Alliance builds safety

Alliance’, Beata says, …is the basis of everything. I build alliances with my supervisees. If there are ruptures, as there sometimes are, we repair them just as we do with clients. We check where we are. It is very important the supervisee feels safe. That is the foundation of everything. They need to feel safe.

A cognitive understanding of the model and process

In the cognitive part of the model, the supervisor helps the supervisee integrate the theory with their practice. Beata says that she may refer to what is happening in the recording, talk about the model and the interventions, or she may elicit more information from the supervisee.

Experiential focus

In the experiential part of supervision, role plays put theory into practice. Beata explains that she’ll ask the supervisee to be the client, and she’ll be the therapist, or vice versa. The experiential focus is helpful when the supervisee says they are stuck, find it hard to work with the client, or don’t know what’s happening. 

Beata explains, ‘It very often it really helps. The supervisee can feel into the client better. It helps create a shift and get the therapist unstuck.’ The experiential part of supervision is an important teaching method as the supervisor can demonstrate how to, for example, set up the enactments in couples therapy.


Supervision gets very close to therapy when the self-of-the-therapist is touched in supervision. Supervisees need to identify and process their own attachment needs and emotions. Beata describes the importance of these intense moments, ‘ We touch those internal parts of the supervisee so that they can work better with their clients. It’s in the service of their own therapy process.

Beata continues, ‘When you do EFT supervision, it’s impossible not to experience emotions.’ Just as in therapy, where the therapist meets the client where they are, the supervisor meets the supervisee where they are. ‘If they cannot take too much intensity at a given moment, we try to be where they can be’, Beata elaborates.

Though supervision can become emotionally intense, Beata concludes that she couldn’t offer as many hours of individual or couples therapy as supervision. ‘Supervision is intense, but it’s different from therapy, where you see your clients weekly’, Beata says. She describes moments where there is a shift in the supervisee. The supervisee understands something, sees something, their feelings change, or they understand something important. Beata describes these moments as beautiful for the supervisee and herself.

You can read our other two interviews here: Psychodynamic Supervision and EMDR Therapy Supervision

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