You do not have to communicate or have contact with a person with whom you are in conflict with or be possibly frightened by. The arrangements can be made by a neutral party (FSI) and there does not have to be contact before, during or after the visits. You can relax and feel comfortable allowing your child/children to have contact with the other parent and can get some valuable time to yourself.
You can be sure that your contact with your child/children will not be interrupted regardless of any personal or interpersonal problems that you may be having. If allegations have been made against you, (which often is the case when supervision is ordered), you can visit without fear of any new accusations because there is someone present who can verify what happens during your time together. When using FSI, you can also be assured that the monitor is objective and neutral to your situation.
Most likely there is nothing to prohibit you from using a “non-professional” relative, friend, or acquaintance. Many court orders may allow that as an option provided that both parents can agree on whom to use. That often may not work for the following reasons:
First and foremost is the difficulty in finding someone with whom you both agree to use. If you are having sufficient conflict that supervision was deemed necessary, chances are slight you will be able to find an individual that both parents will trust and feel comfortable with.
Secondly, it puts a strain on friendships. Many well-meaning friends and relatives will agree to provide the service but may quickly tire of the regular commitment and /or being in the middle of your conflicts. It is difficult for friends and relatives to restrain from taking sides. Once impartiality has been compromised, the credibility of the monitor will come into question, and much of the feeling of security and safety will be lost.
And finally, it may actually detract from the quality that the parent and child/children have together.