Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Benefits of supervision

Professional supervision aims to improve the "effectiveness of the person [being] supervised. It may include acquisition of practical skills, mastery of theoretical or technical knowledge, personal development at the client/therapist interface and professional development" (Davys & Beddoe, 2020, p. 11). Professional supervision may be guiding hand to assist our personal development, or an objective mirror for us to review our practice and progress within. 

It has been found that having professional supervision provides seven benefits to practitioners, including - from most reported to least - "support (93.1%), [...] new ideas and strategies (86.2%)", obtaining "feedback (75.9%) and debriefing (79.3%)", "personal growth (70%)", followed by accountability "(48.3%)", "clarification of procedures", and lastly, "organisational information" (McMahon, 2003. p. 182):

  • Support: the supervisor normalises the supervisee's experiences, provides collegiality and context
  • New ideas/strategies: the supervisor can direct the supervisee to tools, techniques and modifications to practice; in addition to tools for the supervisee to more effectively reflect
  • Feedback/debriefing: holding up a mirror to the supervisee's practice so the supervisee can better self-explore practice
  • Growth: improved self-feedback will lead to personal practitioner growth on the part of the supervisee. It also adds to the growth of the supervisor, and the supervisee's organisation
  • Accountability: this is accountability to the profession, and - in supervision - the clarification of what professional accountability consists of, what it looks like, and how to effect it
  • Process clarification: this includes the process for supervision, how we contract work, how we can/should deliver administrative tasks as a professional, ethical decision-making, and the general practices of professionalism within the sector
  • Organisational info: this includes how we might find out what is 'normal' in our organisation, how to gently guide the professionalisation of practice in our organisations, and places that our organisations may go for more continuous improvement ideas within the sector.

Further, as our understanding of practice varies, across fields, specialities, and nations, it is logical to assume that what we require in supervision will also differ, and in fact "should differ" due to our differences (Carroll, 2014, p. 4). So while we have a list of benefits to begin to understand why supervision is important, these items form a starting point, not an end point, to value. 



Bernard, J. M., & Goodyear, R. K. (2019). Fundamentals of clinical supervision (6th ed.). Allyn and Bacon.

Bronson, M. K. (2001). Chapter 9: Supervision of career counseling. In L. J. Bradley & N. Ladany (Eds.) Counselor supervision (3rd ed., pp. 222-244). Brunner-Routledge.

Burceva, R. (2020). Supervision for School Career Counsellors: Supervisors’ Opinion. Rural Environment, Education, Personality, 13, 379-384.

Carroll, M. (2014). Effective Supervision for the Helping Professions (2nd ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.

Davys, A., & Beddoe, L. (2020). Best practice in professional supervision: A guide for the helping professions (2nd ed.). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Luft, J., & Ingham, H. (1955). The Johari Window: A Graphic Model for Interpersonal Relations. Western Training Laboratory in Group Development. University of California at Los Angeles, Extension Office.

McMahon, M. (2003). Supervision and career counsellors: A little-explored practice with an uncertain future. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 31(2), 177-187.

Nicoleta, L. (2015). Supervision in Career Counseling–theoretical framework and practical benefits. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 180, 1094-1101.

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