Manual A Different Wisdom: Reflections on Supervision in Practice, Guide to Supervision

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Educational — the educational development of each individual worker on the staff in a manner calculated to evoke her fully to realize her possibilities of usefulness; and. Supportive — the maintenance of harmonious working relationships, the cultivation of esprit de corps. As Salaman 63 argues, managers must have a concern for both performance and learning. If managers fail in this way they fail as managers. In this way managers are expect to develop relationships and environments that enable people to work together and respond to change.

In our experience of management some of us will have found that all three elements were present — and were acknowledged by the parties involved.

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As managers we may well express a concern for the well being of those we are responsible for; we may also attend to gaining clarity around the tasks to be achieved and how they are to be undertaken. In addition, we may have a care for staff development. We may well explore particular incidents and situations and seeing how they could be handled in different ways. There may also be situations where these elements are not all present. For example, we may have slipped into a strong task orientation with a particular worker.

Or, and this is quite common, we may focus rather too strongly on the support side. I find it helpful to think of the three elements as inter linked or as overlapping. They flow one into another.


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If we are to remove one element than the process becomes potentially less satisfying to both the immediate parties — and less effective. It is easy to simply identify managerial supervision with administrative supervision. In administrative supervision the primary problem is concerned with the correct, effective and appropriate implementation of agency policies and procedures. The primary goal is to ensure adherence to policy and procedure Kadushin The supervisor has been given authority by the agency to oversee the work of the supervisee.

This carries the responsibility:. Brown and Bourne The primary goal is to dispel ignorance and upgrade skill. The classic process involved with this task is to encourage reflection on, and exploration of the work. Supervisees may be helped to:. Explore other ways of working with this an other similar client situations Hawkins and Shohet In supportive supervision the primary problem is worker morale and job satisfaction. The primary goal is to improve morale and job satisfaction Kadushin Workers are seen as facing a variety of job-related stresses which, unless they have help to deal with them, could seriously affect their work and lead to a less than satisfactory service to clients.

Kadushin argues that the other two forms of supervision focus on instrumental needs, whereas supportive supervision is concerned with expressive needs ibid. The supervisor is available and approachable, communicates confidence in the worker, provides perspective, excuses failure when appropriate, sanctions and shares responsibility for different decisions, provides opportunities for independent functioning and for probable success in task achievement.

Kadushin First, the way these functions are depicted tends towards seeing supervisees in deficit. They are lacking in certain ways — and it is the job of the supervisor to help them put things right. The problem is that supervisors can easily slip into acting on , or upon behalf of, supervisees. Kadushin is primarily concerned with organizational or managerial supervision. Such supervisor-managers have responsibility to the organization or agency for the actions of their staff and so such a deficit orientation may not be surprising.

However, there will be a number of us who would argue for a different approach to management — one that that stresses conversation and a concern for fostering an environment in which workers can take responsibility for their own actions. I do not think that this criticism undermines the shape of the model, i. At one level I could argue that having a concern for the management and development of the worker i. I suppose this is where the various functions could be seen as overlapping or feeding into each other. I guess that it is in this area that the real danger of slippage into a counselling framework appears.

We make the main focus the person of the supervisee rather than the work. By incorporating support into the model we are at least able to frame the concern for the person of the supervisee within the larger concern for the service to the client. Third, there is always the question of what may have been left out from the model. Approaching it from a managerial perspective, especially where you are concerned with the operation of teams, there might be the temptation to add in mediation as a function Richards et al in Brown and Bourne 9.

Then there may be issues around the naming of the separate functions. For example, is it helpful to separate administration from management, would management be a better overall title and so on? Fourth, there is the question of how tied this model is to managerial supervision. Proctor uses the same basic split but uses different terms — formative education , normative administration and restorative support. We will return to this later.

Reflective Practice - Bibliography CPE Supervision

Even given these questions, the Kadushin framework remains helpful. It has found a consistent echo in the social work field, and in the English language literature of supervision. Perhaps the main reason for this is that by naming the categories in this way Kadushin and others are able to highlight a number of key issues and tensions around the performance of supervision.

I know that when I attempted to put categories against the foci — I ended up with some differences. For example, I could argue that foci 8 can be approached as an educative element. I know some people will have problems with the language and the basic conceptual position that these writers have taken up. They can work for conditions that will foster good quality work — but they then have to leave matters to their team members. Brown or professional supervision in the literature. Sometimes this is reduced to the difference between administrative and educational supervision.

That is to say, one version argues that managers should not be concerned with educational supervision; and consultant supervisors should only focus on education and support. There is some truth in portraying the primary responsibilities in this way — but it would be very misleading to leave it there. As we have seen, Kadushin argues that management supervision involves all three categories.

Some of the confusion around supposed differences arises from the roots of consultant, non-managerial or professional supervision. Its development has, arguably, owed much to the emergence of psychoanalysis and counselling. In the case of the former, practice, supervision, teaching and personal analysis have formed the central elements of training since the s. If we consider current approaches to training social workers, teachers or informal and community educators, then we can see similar elements.

Student or trainee supervision can be contrasted with practitioner supervision. The latter is addressed to established workers. Some writers, such as Page and Wosket 2 , claim that there are many differences between the focus in supervision of students or trainees, and that of established practitioners. This is something that you may like to think about. My own experience of supervision is that the degree of difference in these respects can easily be overstated. Experienced practitioners may have a greater repertoire of experiences and models to draw upon, and may have grown jaded.

But the supervisor who fails to attend to the extent to which experienced practitioners face new situations and different clients, can overlook the chance of practitioners feeling like novices again. Similarly, those labelled as student workers may well be experiencing frustration and boredom toward their clients! This linking of consultant supervision with the development of counselling is significant.

The form that supervision takes may well mirror or adopt ways of working from the host profession. Thus, a counsellor supervisor may draw heavily on the theory and practice of a counselling model and apply this to supervision. A psycho-dynamic supervisor would interpret the material being presented and use an awareness of the relationship dynamics between himself and the counsellor in supervision as a means of supervising.

A client-centred supervisor would be concerned to communicate the core conditions of acceptance, respect and genuiness to her supervisee. Page and Wosket 4. We now can begin to appreciate why many of the arguments and questions around supervision can become confusing.


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Contrasts between managerial and consultant supervision, for example, inevitably focus on the managerial element. Yet those involved may well be drawing on very different models and sets of understandings. The debate may be between a psycho-dynamic and a task orientation! We have already noted problems around this area with regard to the management of staff — and it applies with great force in consultant supervision.

However, there are two particular dangers: we may slip into a different framework without being aware of it; and, further, even where the shift is conscious, it may not be appropriate. That is to say we should have held our boundaries as supervisors.

There can also be confusion between shifting our frame of reference and drawing upon insights from a particular field. Here we may draw upon, for example, psycho-dynamic insights, to work with supervisees to enhance the quality of their interactions with clients.

Our focus remains on the enhancement of practice. However, where our primary concern is no longer the work, but the well-being of the supervisee, this is a different situation. We should not make the mistake of describing this as supervision. This last discussion highlights something fundamental about supervision. While the manager may have in mind the needs of the agency; and the practice teacher or college supervisor the needs of the student-worker, their fundamental concern in supervision lies with the quality of service offered by the supervisee to their clients.

In other words, supervision focuses on the work of the practitioner.

Reflections on Supervision Practice: Guide to Supervision, 1st Edition

Clients at the centre. It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing changes in the individual supervisee as the central goal of the process. It is not difficult to understand how this happens. As we have seen, in supervision we draw on understandings and ways of working that we have developed in other settings. The same applies to consultant or non-managerial supervision:. The responsibility of the supervisor to protect the interests of the client emerges as a central component of trainee supervision.

Attention to client welfare is equally important… in practitioner supervision. Page and Wosket 9.

A Structure for Reflective Supervision

Change in supervisees is fostered for a purpose — the enhancement of the service they provide for their clients. However, in considering this we also have to take into account what may be in the interests of the community as a whole. Accountability to the wider community. In the well known phrase of C. Wright Mills — there are considerable dangers in seeing private troubles merely as troubles — and not as public issues and vice versa. As practitioners and supervisors we have to balance the needs and wishes of the individual with considerations of those of others in the community.

There will be times when what may be identified as being in the interest of the client seriously affects the rights and lives of others. The tensions can be quickly seen if we examine the four basic or first order principles identified by Sarah Banks 25 — 46 as central to social work and, indeed, informal and community education :. In a similar fashion we have to reflect on our actions as supervisors. Being part of a community of practice. There are likely to be endless arguments about considerations such as these — especially when they are thought about in relation to specific cases and situations.

We may have our individual ideas, but as members of a community of practice we need also to consider the views of others. That is to say we need to appeal to collective wisdom. Within professional groupings a key port of call here is a code of ethics see Banks 67 — I want to suggest here that while managerial supervisors, as members of the profession or community of practice, have a duty to consider the appropriate standards and codes, the main way that they do this is via the policies and practices of the agency.

On the other hand, while non-managerial or consultant supervisors may be contracted by the supervisee or the College in the case of student workers , their authority comes from their membership of the community of practice [2].

Reflective supervision: establishing the cornerstone of safe practice

In other words, at certain points in the supervision process they may be required to represent that constitutes acceptable behaviour or good practice. In Figure 3 I have tried to bring out the position with regard to professional and managerial supervision. Professional supervisors act on behalf of the community of practice of which they are members.

They should have a concern with the quality of service offered and the needs of the wider community. The primary goal is to ensure adherence to these standards. Where workers consistently fail to live up to these standards or present a danger to clients they have a responsibility to act. This could take the form of them discouraging the supervisee from practice, or of reporting matters to the appropriate professional body.

Managerial supervisors also look to professional concerns and to the interests of clients and the wider community, but they do so through the framework of agency policies and procedures. We can see in all this that there are questions concerning power relationships within supervision. Turner — in this unit explores some issues and problems around this area. Here I just need to make three points. First, because one person may be seen as more powerful perhaps in the sense that they occupy a particular position, or are experts in their field this should not encourage us to fall into the trap of seeing the other party as powerless.

For example, Erving Goffman has provided us with numerous examples of how the performance of one party in an encounter depends on getting the right sorts of cues and responses from other participants. When these are denied or subverted in some way then the performance becomes problematic. Thus managers, for example, require information from their subordinates in order to function. The subordinate, by managing the flow and character of information is in a position to affect how a manager sees an issue or situation.

Second, it is not possible to eliminate power differentials in supervision. Waite Yet even in such forms there are power relationships — e. However, this need not be a one-way relationship.

Reflective Supervision Toolkit 1 The Supervision Triangle

Here it is useful to think of supervisees also as members of the professional community Waite — As such supervisors can be held accountable for the quality of the service they provide; and supervisees for their practice with clients. Both have a responsibility to participate appropriately in the professional community of which they are a part. Third, and linked to the above, we need to bear in mind questions of authority. Power is often discussed alongside questions of authority. When we talk of the authority of the supervisor, for example, what we can mean is that the supervisor has some sort of right or entitlement to act in relation to the supervisee.

Managers occupy a certain position in the agency and with this is associated the ability to direct the labours of their staff. Some activities may be seen as legitimate, others as not [3]. The same applies to supervisors undertaking their work to meet the requirements of professional training programmes. Note: You will be sent an e-mail a week before the course starts stating that the course is open and you are encouraged to log in then. There are two course textbooks as below. Both are very good resources and are available in e-book format. The participants need to buy these books separately and the cost in not included in the registration fee.

The required reading chapters will be announced as the course progresses. University of Calgary University Dr.

Clinical Social Work Supervision

University of Calgary. Search UofC:. Social Work Professional Development. Course Overview This online workshop in Clinical Social Work Supervision is intended to be practical and geared for the professional who is already doing supervision, or is on the cusp of a supervisory position and has substantial front-line clinical experience. Learning Outcomes The participants will: Understand the basics of supervision from a social work perspective such as definitions, the importance of context, differences between therapy and consultation, types, etc. Be able to distinguish between and engage in some practical examples of administrative and clinical supervision.

Become aware of various supervisory types — group, peer, supervision of supervision, etc. Understand supervisory accountabilities such as: contracting, documentation, legal issues, joint responsibilities of supervisor and supervisee, reporting responsibilities and ethical dilemmas in supervision. Investigate a collection of supervisory interactions and have the opportunity to use these investigations in role plays and practical applications.