Clinical Supervision


We’re indebted to Bonnie L. Bain at the School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Texas; Texas Addiction Technology Transfer Center; and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment for their permission to use extensive material on clinical supervision presented here.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing the course you'll be able to:

  1. Review various definitions of clinical supervision.  

  2. List at least four purposes of clinical supervision.  

  3. Identify strengths and potential challenges of individual supervision.  

  4. Discuss the history, philosophy and functions of supervision and provide your own definition of supervision.  

  5. Explain why it is important to integrate theory with clinical material in supervision.  

  6. Enumerate the differences between modalities, philosophy of practice and practice theory.  

  7. List the functions and components of a theory of supervision.  

  8. Discuss various values–service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence–and corresponding ethical principles as embodied in the NASW Code of Ethics.  

  9. Discuss social workers’ ethical responsibilities to clients in the following areas: commitment to clients, self-determination, informed consent, competence, conflicts of interest, privacy and confidentiality, access to records, sexual relationships, payment of services, termination of services, etc.  

  10. Discuss social workers’ ethical responsibility to colleagues, in practice settings, as professionals, to the social work profession, and to the broader society.

  11. Introduce newer concepts of making organizations work efficiently and list several sources for management ideas.

  12. Identify three ways that administrators can manage diversity in positive ways.

  13. Explain what “value clash” means within an organization and indicate ways supervisors can address this problem.

  14. List eight principles of excellence that organizations should adhere to.  

  15. Enunciate 9 principles for human service managers.  

  16. List 5 conditions that are frequently seen in organizations and agencies that are experiencing cutbacks  in funding, and describe managerial strategies to deal with this challenge.  

  17. Describe what managers and supervisors can do to keep from losing valuable employees during time of shrinking budget within their agency.  

  18. Recognize two types of diversity-related problems that can happen within an organization and identify three symptoms that can serve as warning signs to managers and supervisors.  

  19. Describe 5 ways that managers can positively manage diversity within an organization.  

  20. List 4 questions that supervisors should ask themselves regarding diversity in their agency.  

  21. Describe the advantages of Powell and Shulman’s supervision models.

  22. List and describe 3 levels of counselor development.

  23. List and describe 3 levels of supervisor development.

  24. List  6 role tasks for a clinician and administrator.

  25. Describe the relationship between the first role task and the systems perspective.

  26. Describe the Double Matrix Model of Supervision.  

  27. List 6 modes in the Double Matrix Model and briefly describe each.  

  28. List and briefly describe the 4 elements in a model of clinical supervision.  

  29. Discuss various models of supervision associated with several leading schools of therapy within a historical context.  

  30. Provide 3 ethical and legal concerns that are central to supervision.  

  31. Describe dual relationships and how they are problematic.  

  32. Explain how issues of professional credibility influence supervision and the supervisor’s role in this process.  

  33. Describe vicarious liability and how a supervisor can take steps to protect herself/himself against ethicaland legal consequences.  

  34. List 4 advantages and 2 disadvantages of group supervision.  

  35. Identify and briefly discuss 5 aspects to consider when arranging group supervision.  

  36. Briefly describe peer supervision and list 4 format principles.  

  37. Compare and contrast group supervision and team supervision.  

  38. Explain the two hazards of a student-supervisor relationship.  

  39. Describe the two consequences of a dysfunctional student-supervisor relationship and explain how they can be avoided.  

  40. Briefly describe three tasks/skills of a supervisor outlined by Shulman.  

  41. Identify three characteristics of adult learners and explain why it is important for supervisors to be knowledgeable about them.

  42. Define a “mutual aid group.”  

  43. List four skills of contracting in the beginning phase.

  44. Describe the phases that take place from beginning to end of supervision.  

  45. Identify various workplace skills in supervision and describe their role in supervisor training.

  46. Describe the skills of sessional tuning-in and sessional contracting.

  47. List four requirements for effective learning in supervision.

  48. Identify 7 mutual aid processes in which an effective staff group can provide help to workers.

  49. Define parallel process in a supervisory relationship.

  50. Identify five principles of leadership for successful organizations and illustrate how you might implement them in your agency.

  51. Help make your agency a great place to work using the process described here.

  52. Help your staff deal with losses related to their professional roles.

  53. When the supervisor leaves his/her position, prepare the staff for the transition and pave the way for the new supervisor.

  54. List 3 essential elements of the relationship of supervision.

  55. List and describe 3 phases of the supervisory relationship.

  56. Identify 5 dimensions of the supervision interview.

  57. Explain the relational power and show its application in supervision with women.

  58. Describe the Interpersonal Circumplex and explain how the Complementarity Theory relates to it.  

  59. Describe three methods for determining the needs of staff.

  60. Enunciate three general principles in assessing counselors in supervision.

  61. List some of the reasons for the importance of supervisors preparing competent and self-assured social workers and describe two strategies that can help achieve this goal.

  62. Distinguish between administrative and practice evaluations and describe how they are related.  

  63. Identify three meeting management techniques and discuss your experience as a staff member in meetings in your agency and your experience chairing meetings.  

  64. Outline five recommendations you would make to your administrative superiors to enhance risk management for you and your agency.  

  65. Describe four supervisory techniques for helpful and non-threatening criticism.  

  66. List six  risks that are present in most social work agencies.  

  67. Describe four ways of managing risks in social work agencies.

  68. List ten basics for a good educational assessment and explain why it is an important tool in supervision.

  69. Explain why reading is important for both the supervisor and the supervisee.  

  70. List five important techniques for managing time.  

  71. Describe three general functions of supervision intervention.  

  72. List various work-related stressors for supervisors.  

  73. Differentiate between must and can interventions and provide examples for each type.

  74. Provide guidelines for must and can interventions by a supervisor.

  75. List several routine characteristics of a game played by either a supervisor or supervisee.

  76. Identify various games played by supervisors and supervisees and their hidden meanings.

  77. Describe the drama triangle to explain the psychological games played by clients, social workers and supervisors.  

  78. Describe the mirroring/parallel process and transference/countertransference.  

  79. Identify strategies for dealing constructively with unhealthy processes in supervision.

Evaluation of Individual Objectives

To assess the effectiveness of the course material, we ask that you evaluate your achievement of each learning objective on a scale of A to D (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=unsatisfactory). Please indicate your responses next to each learning objective and return it to us with your completed exam.

Course Outline

Introduction to Clinical Supervision

  Approaches to (Modes of) Clinical Supervision

Clinical Supervision Interpersonal Skills

Functions of Supervision

History and Philosophy of Supervision

Theories and Values of Supervision

Reading Outlines: Module I

Code of Ethics National Board for Certified Counselors

NBCCÒ Standards for the Ethical Practice of Clinical Supervision LMFT Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics NASW Code of Ethics

Ethical Standards

Code of Ethics LPC Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics LCDC Code of Ethics

E thical Decision Screens

Knowledge Survey for the NASW Code of Ethics

I mportance of Understanding Management

V alue Clash

R eading Outlines and Study Questions: Module II

Reading Outlines: Module II

Models of Supervision

Reading Outlines and Study Questions: Module III

 A Proposed Structure For the Provision of Group Supervision                   

Module IV: Supervisory Skills/Learning Styles

Supervisory Skills

Learning Styles

Reading Outlines and Study Questions - Module IV

Module V: The Supervisory Relationship

Parallel Process  

Professional Boundaries

Three Elements of the Supervisory Relationship

Reading Outlines and Study Questions – Module V

Module VI: Tools and Techniques

Powell’s Twelve Core Functions of Supervisors

Reading Outlines and Study Questions – Module VI

Dealing With Difficulties in Supervision

Must and Can Interventions  

v   Identifying Unhealthy Processes in Supervision

Game Playing in Supervision

v   T he Drama Triangle

Mirroring, Parallel Process and Transference/Countertransference

Strategies for Dealing Constructively with Unhealthy Processes In Supervision

Guidelines in Relation to the Supervision/Therapy Dialectic


"The material was excellent! Also, I really liked and appreciate that the material is in book form. This allows for easy referral in the future." - S.E.H., LCSW, MN


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