Use of Supervision
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Definition of supervision Supervision is an interpersonal interaction
between supervisor and supervisee. At least two persons
Social work supervision is essential in
determining the quality of service, ensuring the professional development and job satisfaction of frontline social workers
(Harkness, 1995; Harkness and Hensley, 1991; Harkness and Poertner, 1989; Kadushin and Harkness, 2002; Munson, 2002; Shulman, 1993)
Functions of supervision Supervision has administrative, educational and supportive function ( Shulman, 1995)
Functions of supervision 1. . Educational Function: core component of the professional
supervision of social workers Inculcation of professional values, provision of knowledge, and training in practical skills Encourage the self-introspection, enhance self awareness and sensitivity.
Functions of supervision 2. Administrative function: setting of service objectives and priorities,
clarification of roles, planning and assignment of work, review and evaluation of work, and accountability and responsibility for the supervisee’s work
Functions of supervision 3. Supportive Function To deal with job-related issues/ personal
issues To develop the attitudes and feelings conducive to effective job performance in the agency and professional identification
Major modes of supervision Individual supervision Group supervision Live supervision
Individual supervision Individual supervision- one to one
supervision, more intensive and personal sharing. The Social Workers Registration Board has required at least half of supervision hours is in individual format
Group supervision Group supervision- learning not only from
the supervisor, but also from your field mate ( colleague). It is necessary particularly when there is joint assignments (co-work with groups, projects).
Live supervision The field supervisor may attend the group
sessions or interviews in person. Client’s consent needs to be solicited beforehand Usually, the supervisor would not intervene unless some urgent issues need to be handled. such as: child safety issue (physical punishment)
Effectiveness of Supervision Major Factors: 1. the relationship between supervisor and
supervisee 2.The contract 3. Format/ mode of supervision 4. Preparation work
Contract Clear and concrete learning contract should be set up
in the beginning of placement The contract includes: professional development (values, skills and knowledge); personal development (such as: work under various demands at one time; punctuality; fear of speaking in public; suitability of working in the field)
A sample of learning contract A. Personal aspect I would like to practise the punctuality and mature working attitude. Actually, I think I am not punctual for the lessons in Hong Kong University. I believe that I am not mature enough in working with clients as I am sometimes emotional and subjective. Means to achieve goals: To reduce the gatherings with friends and sleep early at the night before work To have Personal reflection after each counseling session to minimize my subjective and judgmental reaction to clients.
A sample of learning contract B. Professional Aspect: • To know the role of social workers in IFSC
setting, the service delivery models of IFSC and the related policies. • To master basic interviewing skills and put basic casework process into practice • To apply the CBT, Behavioral Intervention and family systems perspective theoretical frameworks
A sample of learning contract Means to achieve goals: By doing at least 5 cases in this placement
with different age groups. By reading related articles and references By discussing with supervisor and sharing with colleagues and field-mate
Before the supervision 1. submitting the agenda of supervision 2. submitting the paper work 3. Reserve the room for supervision At least one day before supervision (or at the
agreed time and date with your supervisor)
Sample of agenda 1.
Report the progress of work 2. Discussion on the cases A & D and the group session 3. Sharing on the team work with field partner or my relationship with agency staff
Sample of agenda 4. Difficulties in working unmotivated
clients such as: ex-offenders 5. Family affairs ( the illness of a parent) 6. Date of next supervision
In the Supervision 1. Be frank and open to share your concerns
and difficulties (if any) 2. Preparing the questions for discussion 3. Taking notes if necessary
Obstacles 1. Fear of facing or disclosing one’s
weaknesses ( supervisor has the role of assessor and will assess your performance) No one is perfect even your supervisor. No interview is perfect and there is always the room for improvement. You are a student and making mistakes sometimes is unavoidable.
Obstacles 2. Negative perception on the supervisor
(demanding, not supportive but only taskoriented) Don’t jump into conclusion--- do try before making
Obstacles 3. Not to compare one’s supervisor with
other supervisors Different settings have different demands and
supervisors have different styles. Every one is unique.
Obstacles 4. Poor time and work management- no
Preparation: Fail to submit the recordings and paper work Fail to review one’s work (such as: listening to the taped sessions) At least to submit some rather than nothing
After the supervision To transfer what have been learnt into the practice To avoid of committing the same mistakes To plan the follow up actions so as monitoring the work progress and delivering the better quality of services provided; to clarify misconceptions and regulate one’s emotion with emotional support
Conclusion Try to maximize the use of supervision. It is a good platform to learn, to
communicate, to reflect one’s values, attitudes towards people and surroundings (policies) as well as to examine one’s commitment in the social work profession.
References 1.Social Workers Registration Board (2005). Guidelines
on Social Work Supervision (Retrieved from http://www.swrb.org.hk/text-eng/supervision_e.asp on 4/5/2012) 2. Tsui, M.S. (2004). Supervision Models in Social Work: From Nature to Culture. Asian Journal of Counselling, 2004, Vol. 11 Nos. 1 & 2, 7-55. 3.Tsui, M. S. (2005). Functions of social work supervision in Hong Kong. International Social Work 2005 48: 485. CA: Sage