Supervision in the Mental Health Professions: A Practitioner's Guide

Supervision in the Mental Health Professions: A Practitioner's Guide

Supervision in the Mental Health Professions: A Practitioner's Guide

Supervision in the Mental Health Professions: A Practitioner's Guide


In this book, Joyce Scaife, along with her guest contributors, draws on over two decades of experience to illustrate ways of thinking about and doing supervision. Using practical examples, she explores often-encountered questions, such as: How can supervisors facilitate learning? What are the ethical bases of supervision? What helps to create a good working alliance?


Supervision, particularly as a component of initial training, and increasingly as a contributory element in continuing professional development, is deeply embedded in the cultures of the helping professions. This is despite the claim (Holloway and Neufeldt, 1995) that there is no research on standardised and empirically validated training programmes for supervisors. Client outcome is the ultimate test of the effectiveness of supervision. But the relationship between supervisor interventions and client change is subtle and complex. Not surprisingly, attempts to account for and understand this relationship have produced little of substance, and serious methodological deficiencies prevail (Ellis, Ladany, Krengel and Schult, 1996; Holloway and Neufeldt, 1995; Russell, Crimmings and Lent, 1984).

Nevertheless, when Holloway and Neufeldt (1995) ask, 'Would you choose to see a therapist who had never received direct supervision of her or his work?', the likely answer would be 'No'. The message from this to practitioners is to use the available literature on supervision to inform our own practice and experiences in supervision. This book is an attempt to broaden the supervision literature, both by taking a panoramic view of the work of other authors and by drawing on my own experiences.

Jon Scaife and Sue Walsh jointly authored with me Chapters 2 and 3 respectively. This reflects the fact that my ideas about learning and about emotions at work have developed enormously through the many lively and enjoyable conversations we have had over a number of years.

I first encountered Brigid Proctor and Francesca Inskipp through the very helpful sets of books and tapes on supervision that they had produced. Having listened to their work on tape I invited them to lead a supervisor training workshop in which these two 'retired' counsellors delighted and entertained us whilst ensuring that we went away with a wealth of new ideas and evolving skills. Their experience of group supervision is much wider than my own and I wanted this breadth to be reflected in this book. My grateful thanks are due to Jon, Sue, Brigid and Francesca, both for their contributions and also for their inspiration in my work.

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