Theory And Practice Of Supervision

Supervision theories and patterns began emerging every bit shortly as counselors started to develop other counselors ( Bernard & A ; Goodyear, 2009 ) . Several different theoretical theoretical accounts have developed to clear up and back up reding supervising. The focal point of early theoretical accounts of supervising had by and large been based on reding theories ( such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Adlerian or client-centred ) , but these orientation-specific theoretical accounts have begun to be challenged as supervising has many features that are different to reding. Competency as a counselor does non automatically interpret into competence as a supervisor, and when supervisee/supervisor orientations differ, struggles may originate ( Falender & A ; Safranske, 2004 ) .

More recent theoretical accounts of supervising have integrated theories from psychological science and other subjects, for one-to-one, equal and group supervising. As supervising has become more focussed, different types of theoretical accounts emerged, such as developmental theoretical accounts, integrated theoretical accounts, and bureau theoretical accounts. As a consequence, these theoretical accounts have to some extent replaced the original guidance theory theoretical accounts of supervising, and supervisors may use several different theoretical accounts to measure up and simplify the complexnesss of supervising ( Powell, 1993 ) . This paper will briefly look at a definition of supervising, and an lineation of two different theoretical accounts – bureau and developmental.

What is Supervision?

Supervision is the procedure where by a counselor can talk to person who is trained to place any psychological or behavioral alterations in the counselor that could be due to an inability to get by with issues of one or more clients. A supervisor is besides responsible for disputing patterns and processs, developing improved or different techniques, and informing clients of alternate theories and/or new patterns, every bit good as industry alterations. The supportive and educative procedure of supervising is aimed toward helping supervisees in the application of reding theory and techniques to client concerns ( Bernard & A ; Goodyear, 2009 ) .

The supervisor is responsible for supervising the mental wellness of their supervisee, in bend protecting the populace from unhealthy counselors. Counselors can confront issues such as transference and fire out without any acknowledgment of the symptoms. A supervisor should detect the symptoms before the counselor ( Australian Counsellors Association, 2009 ) .

Supervision is a formal agreement for counselors to discourse their work on a regular basis with person who is experienced in reding and supervising. The undertaking is to work together to guarantee and develop the efficiency of the counsellor/client relationship, maintain equal criterions of guidance and a method of consultancy to widen the skylines of an experient practician ( ACA, 2009 ) .

The supervisor ‘s primary function is to guarantee that their clients are having appropriate curative guidance. By guaranting the counselor continually develops their professional pattern in all countries, the supervisor ensures a counselor remains psychologically healthy. The supervisor is besides responsible for observing any symptoms of burn out, transference or concealed dockets in the supervisee. The Australian Counsellors Association ( 2009 ) recommends that supervisors cover the undermentioned as a affair of class:


  • Supervisee ‘s guidance ;
  • Developing procedure of self-review ;
  • Quality confidence ;
  • Best pattern ;
  • Service results of service bringing ;
  • Identifying hazard for supervisee and clients ;
  • Referrals ;
  • Follow up on client advancement ;
  • Helping the counselor assess strengths and failings.


  • Establishing clear ends for farther Sessionss ;
  • Supplying resources ;
  • Modeling ;
  • Explaining the principle behind a suggested intercession and visa versa ;
  • Professional development ;
  • Interpreting important events in the therapy session ;
  • Convergent and divergent thought ;
  • Use of ego ;
  • Exceeding up ;
  • Facilitating equal connexion ;
  • Duty of attention ;
  • Legal duties.


  • Procedures ;
  • Paperwork ;
  • Linkss ;
  • Accounting ;
  • Case planning ;
  • Record maintaining ;
  • Insurance.


  • Advocate ;
  • Challenge ;
  • Confront ;
  • Empower ;
  • Affirm ;
  • Handiness ;
  • Empowering ;
  • Use of ego.

A scope of different theoretical accounts have evolved to supply a model for these subjects within which supervisors of can form their attacks to supervising, and act as an assistance to understanding world ( Powell, 1993 ) .

Agency Model of Supervision – Kadushin

Kadushin describes a supervisor as person “ to whom authorization is delegated to direct, co-ordinate, enhance, and measure on-the-job public presentation of the supervisees for whose work he/she is held accountable. In implementing this duty, the supervisor performs administrative, educational, and supportive maps in interaction with the supervisee in the context of a positive relationship ” ( Powell, 1993 ) .

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In educational supervising the primary issue for Kadushin is the counselor cognizing how to execute their occupation good and to be accountable for work performed, and developing accomplishments through acquisition and feedback. The object is to increase apprehension and better accomplishment degrees by promoting contemplation on, and geographic expedition of the work ( Tsui, 2005 ) .

In supportive supervising the primary issue is counsellor morale and occupation satisfaction, every bit good as covering with emphasis. The emphasiss and force per unit areas of the training function can impact work public presentation and take its toll psychologically and physically. In utmost and drawn-out state of affairss these may finally take to burnout. The supervisor ‘s function is to assist the counselor manage that stress more efficaciously and supply re-assurance and emotional support ( Tsui, 2005 ) .

The administrative map is the publicity and care of good criterions of work and attachment to organizational policies and good pattern. This includes reappraisals and appraisals. The reading here is that the supervisor inducts the counselor into the norms, values and best patterns. It is the ‘community of pattern ‘ dimension guaranting that criterions are maintained ( Tsui, 2005.

Not every supervising session will affect all three countries or maps, and at different times there may be more of a focal point on one country instead than another.

The supervisor can non avoid the force per unit area that arises from their duty to the workplace, other staff, and to clients. No simple theoretical account of supervising is to be expected to be practical in every state of affairs. Supervisors are expected to accommodate attacks to the developmental degree of supervisees, and both must accommodate to the changing demands of any professional state of affairs ( Powell, 1993 ) .

For this theoretical account, the focal point of supervising is as a prompt for behavioral alteration and skill acquisition. The accent is on carrying staff to larn “ how to utilize oneself in reding to advance behavioral alteration in the client ” ( Powell, 1993 ) .

The supervisor ‘s attending should be on the activities of the supervisee instead than on survey of the supervisee themselves. With a focal point on the activity, instead than the worker, it allows the supervisee to listen to constructive unfavorable judgment instead than experiencing compelled to support themselves from a personal onslaught ( Tsui, 2005 ) .

This theoretical account has several strengths in that it is really flexible, and unfastened to geographic expedition and experimentation. It is besides more ambitious for both the supervisor and supervisee. This manner of supervising can be tailored to run into different demands and variables. This theoretical account may turn out unsatisfactory when the supervisor has deficient experience to be able to supply proper way and support, and where supervisor accomplishments do non let for appropriate rating of the supervisee ( Powell, 1993 ) .

Developmental Models of Supervision – Erskine

Underliing developmental theoretical accounts of supervising is the impression that as people and counselors we are continuously turning and maturating ; like all people we develop over clip, and this development and is a procedure with phases or stages that are predictable. In general, developmental theoretical accounts of supervising define progressive phases of supervisee development from novitiate to expert, each phase dwelling of distinct features and accomplishments ( Bradley & A ; Ladany, 2000 ) .

For illustration, supervisees at the beginning or novice phase would be expected to hold limited accomplishments and deficiency assurance as counselors, while in-between phase supervisees might hold more accomplishment and assurance and have conflicting feelings about perceived independence/dependence on the supervisor. A supervisee in a ulterior developmental phase is expected to use good problem-solving accomplishments and be brooding about the guidance and supervisory procedure ( Haynes, Corey, & A ; Moulton, 2003 ) .

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Erskine ( 1982 ) identifies three phases in the development of the accomplishments of a healer, each of which represents specific features and responds to specific preparation demands. In the beginning phase of preparation, healers have operational demands as they are developing professional accomplishments, a sound theoretical mention system, and intercession techniques. They besides have emotional demands: to experience comfy in their professional function, to be reassured of their ability to make the work, and to experience equal to move in this new project.

This is the phase at which trainees most need positive motives centred on their accomplishments so that they can cognize their strengths and on which they can construct their accomplishments. Erskine ( 1982 ) suggests temporarily disregarding what the trainee does non make good so as to cut down any feelings of insufficiency and to back up self esteem, provided this does non do injury to the trainee or clients.

During the intermediate phase of preparation, Erskine proposes that trainees need to reenforce their personal individuality as healers, learn to specify the way of intervention, and pull up a intervention program. At the personal degree, their end is to incorporate their sense of ego and to work on their emotions in order to understand and work out any personal troubles that might make obstructions to their contact with clients. Harmonizing to Erskine, in this 2nd stage, trainees ‘ personal therapy is of highest importance ( Bradley & A ; Ladany, 2000 ) .

During the advanced phase of preparation, trainees need to larn assorted attacks and to incorporate theoretical models, to recognize alternate intercessions, and to take among them so as to promote flexibleness. Trainees must besides rehearse self-supervision and learn to distinguish between observations of behavior, and speculating about observations ( Stoltenberg & A ; Delworth, 1987 ) .

One of the possible drawbacks of developmental theoretical accounts is that non merely do people larn in different ways but they besides develop at diverse velocities, in varied countries. The development theoretical account does non demo how the supervisee develops and moves from one phase to the following, and how this advancement is connected to the supervising procedure ( Bradley & A ; Ladany, 2000 ) .

For this theoretical account, it is necessary to modify the relationship to run into the supervisee ‘s demands based on their current developmental degree. Supervisors using a development attack to supervision demand to be able to accurately place the supervisee ‘s current phase of development and supply feedback and support appropriate to that developmental phase, while at the same clip helping the supervisee ‘s promotion to the following phase ( Stoltenberg & A ; Delworth, 1987 )


Regardless of the theoretical account used or theoretical background, any theoretical account or theory of supervising should cover some common cardinal rules. Supervisors are responsible for the professional developmental of those under supervising. These duties involve issues such as informed consent, confidentiality, and double relationships ( ACA, 2009 ) .

Ethical and legal concerns are cardinal to supervising. The balance between a supervisory relationship and a curative one merely becomes a job when the supervisor discovers that personal jobs hold back the supervisee. The supervisory relationship becomes a double relationship if the supervisor tries to go the pupil ‘s healer. A double relationship is considered unethical ( Powell, 1993 ) .

Double relationships can happen in different ways. A supervisory relationship can develop into a close, emotional relationship between supervisor and supervisee. The supervisory relationship will in this state of affairs be less effectual and supervising should non go on. In consensual relationships the emotional relationship can go on ; nevertheless, the professional relationship has to stop. The supervisory relationship demands to be governed by the same ethical rule as is the curative procedure ( Powell, 1993 ) .

Different ways of measuring the supervisory procedure are of import both for the supervisor and the supervisee. Establishing a contract for the supervisory relationship makes rating easier. The contract should include the pupil ‘s developmental demands, the supervisor ‘s competences, and supervisory ends and methods ( Stoltenberg & A ; Delworth, 1987 ) .

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Throughout the supervising procedure, the supervisor is responsible for measuring the quality of the supervisory relationship ( Powell, 1993 ) . This duty particularly comes to bear when a struggle arises or an impasse develops. Investigating jobs and challenges frequently begins with inquiring inquiries about assorted facets of the supervisory relationship. When inquiring these inquiries, it is of import to see non merely how the counselor may be lending to a job but besides how the supervisor may be lending.

The supervisor has a duty to guarantee that confidentiality is maintained, and any information obtained in a clinical or confer withing relationship is discussed merely for professional intents and merely with individuals clearly concerned with the instance ( ACA, 2009 ) .


Supervision is non a senior counselor observation over the shoulder of a new or junior counselor. Nor is it a conversation between two practicians, or a duologue of personal affairs with a counselor. It is a distinguishable intercession, to heighten professional operation and supervise the quality of reding services being provided ( Bernard & A ; Goodyear, 2009 ) .

Clinical supervising is a complex activity ; it can be instruction or support, aids with assurance or uncertainties, it can treat through different degrees or phases. “ The competent clinical supervisor must encompass non merely the sphere of psychological scientific discipline, but besides the spheres of client service and trainee development. The competent supervisor must non merely grok how these assorted cognition bases are connected, but besides use them to the single instance ” ( Bradley & A ; Ladany, 2000 ) . The intent is to assist place obstructions that prevent the supervisee from larning, turning and finally assisting their client.

No affair what theoretical model is used, supervising can be used as a means to develop professionally. Like any other relationship in life it is non perfect, nor is it an reply to every job. Like any other relationship, it is necessary to be honest, consistent, and reliable, and work hard to construct trust. Supervisors and supervisees have to work together to do it successful.

Powell ( 1993 ) theorised that the accent should non be on why a counselor feels a certain manner, but on being able to set a terminal to behaviours that inhibit alteration. Powell advises professionals to develop their ain theoretical account of supervising in order to understand what one is making and why.

Whatever theoretical account of supervising if employed, a supervisor should seek to promote on-going professional instruction, challenge the supervisee to better their accomplishments and techniques

A supervisor should step in where client public assistance is at hazard, and guarantee that ethical guidelines and professional criterions are maintained.

A supervisee should endeavor to uphold ethical guidelines and professional criterions, be unfastened to alter and alternate methods of pattern, maintain a committedness to go oning instruction and confer with the supervisor in instances of exigency.

Supervision, irrespective of any theoretical account used, should enable counselors to get new professional and personal penetrations through their ain experiences.


Australian Counsellors Association ( 2009 ) . Professional Supervision. Accessed 2nd February 2010. hypertext transfer protocol: //

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Bradley, L.J. , & A ; Ladany, N. ( 2000 ) . Counsellor Supervision: Principles, Process and Practice. Philadelphia, PA: Brunner-Routlege.

Erskine, R. G. ( 1982 ) . Supervision for psychotherapeutics: Models for professional development. Transactional Analysis Journal, 12, 314-321.

Falender, C. A. , & A ; Shafranske, E. P. ( 2004 ) . Clinical supervising: A competency-based attack. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Haynes, R. , Corey, G. , & A ; Moulton, P. ( 2003 ) . Clinical supervising in the assisting professions: A practical usher. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Powell, D. ( 1993 ) . A developmental attack to supervising. In Clinical supervising in intoxicant and drug maltreatment guidance. ( p. 58-84 ) . New York, NY: Lexington Books.

Stoltenberg, C. D. , & A ; Delworth, U. ( 1987 ) . Oversing counselors and healers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tsui, Ming-Sum ( 2005 ) . Social work supervising: contexts and constructs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.