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Professional supervision is a positive and enabling process that offers the opportunity to bring an employee and a skilled supervisor together to reflect on work practice. It is the process by which a worker can review and evaluate their work through discussion, report and observation with another worker. Supervision aims to identify solutions to problems, improve practice and increase understanding of professional and clinical issues.

“Supervision is a process in which one worker is given responsibility to work with another worker(s) in order to meet certain or organisational, professional and personal activities. These objectives are competent, accountable performance, continuing professional development and personal support.” (Morrison 1993).

It is a designated interaction between two or more practitioners within a safe/supportive environment, which enables a continuum of reflective critical analysis of care, to ensure quality patient services

Supervision addresses the need to develop knowledge and skills and the need to be concerned with quality and clinical governance. It addresses the need to ensure that professional standards are maintained and that policies and procedures of the organisation are adhered to. It also embraces the need for support for staff and is underpinned by learning from experience and reflective practice.

Aims of Supervision

  • To improve working practice in order to enhance the quality of service received by the Service User.
  • To improve communication.
  • To develop the potential of each member of staff.
  • To improve the competency of each individual staff member and throughout the whole organisation.
  • To address workload management issues.
  • To provide focus on our commitment to the professional development of every member of staff and highlight the importance of the contribution made by every member of staff.
  • To facilitate the recognition of boundaries and the limitations of skill and competence.
  • To boost morale and confidence and encourage the emergence, growth and development of good ideas and practice.
  • To examine interventions, outcomes and consequences of those interventions and to explore other possible interventions.
  • To develop a greater degree of self-awareness, autonomy and self-esteem.
  • To assist staff to achieve their personal professional objectives.
  • To promote life long learning
  • To increase awareness of evidence based practice.
  • To promote good quality working environments where staff feel supported in their roles.
  • To monitor and support progress with regard to pre-agreed Continuing Professional Development objectives.

Clinical Supervision

Clinical supervision is used in counselling, psychotherapy and other mental health disciplines as well as many other professions engaged in working with people. It consists of the practitioner meeting regularly with another professional, not necessarily more senior, but normally with training in the skills of supervision, to discuss casework and other professional issues in a structured way. This is often known as clinical supervision or counselling supervision or consultation. The purpose is to assist the practitioner to learn from his or her experience and progress in expertise, as well as to ensure good service to the client or patient.Generally speaking all therapists are now expected to have regular clinical supervision. C. Waskett (2006) has written on the application of solution focused supervision skills to either counselling or clinical supervision work.

Educational supervision

Educational supervision is used in the training of teachers and in the ongoing developemnt of their work to ensure quality of provision.

Benefits of supervision

Main article: Benefits of supervision

Modes of supervision

Supervision sessions can be conducted in a number of different ways eg in individual or group setting

Main article: Modes of supervision

Models or approaches to supervision

There are many different ways of developing supervision skills which can be helpful to the clinician or practitioner in their work. Specific models or approaches to both counselling supervision and clinical supervision come from different historical strands of thinking and beliefs about relationships between people.

Main article: Models of supervision

Role of the supervisor

Main article: Role of the clinical supervisor

Role of the supervisee

Main article: Role of the clinical supervisee

Ethical guidelines for supervisors

Because of the special nature of the supervisory relationship it is important that all supervisors are aware of and follow the ethical guidelines of their professional bodies

Main article: Ethical guidelines for supervisors

Training of supervisors

Supervision has become an area of growing importance for clinical training programmes

Main article: Training of supervisors - general principle

See also


  • Falender, C. A. & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision. A competency-based approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Falender, C. A. & Shafranske, E. P. (Eds.) (2008). Casebook in clinical supervision. A Competency-based approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Hawkins,P Shohet, R. (2003) Supervision in the Helping Professions: an organisational, group and organisational approach; Open University Press, Maidenhead, 2nd ed
  • Inskipp,F B Proctor. The Art, craft and tasks of Counselling supervision, Part 1 – making the most of supervision, 1993, and Part 2 – becoming a supervisor, 1995
  • Morrison T (1993) Staff Supervision in Social Care: an action learning approach. Harlow Longman.
  • Page, S., Wosket, V. Supervising the Counsellor: a cyclical model; Routledge, London & New York, 1995
  • Waskett, C. The pluses of solution-focused supervision, in Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal, Vol 6, No 1.
  • Waskett, C. (2006). The SF Journey, in Therapy Today', March , Vol 17, No 2, pp 40-42

External links

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