Types of supervision in services for adolescents

Types of supervision in services for adolescents

2 December 2014
Types of supervision in services for adolescents

What types of supervision work well in services for adolescents? We asked two senior practitioners - please share your views below.

This article is part of a series of resources being released during our “Focus on… supervision in work with adolescents”.

Supervision in work with adolescents can take different shapes and forms, and may reflect the nature of the work being undertaken, or the resources available.

Group or peer supervision is cost-effective and fosters a culture of shared responsibility of clients, as well as exposing workers to diverse practice methods and guidance on possible interventions.

One-on-one supervision is common amongst the youth and child protection sectors and is generally provided by an external supervisor. The dialogue between the supervisor and supervisee may vary according to pressing issues, but will generally focus on current practice, such as reviewing outcomes of current interventions, and understanding client behaviours and responses.

Read more about different types of supervision in our Practice Guide, Working with adolescents: Supervision.

We spoke to Karen Hart, General Manager of The Youth Junction Inc., and Manager of the Visy Cares Hub, and Corinne Henderson, Senior Policy Advisor at the Mental Health Coordinating Council, about the type of supervision used in their practice.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments field below.

Karen Hart:

Our case managers receive internal, face-to-face, structured supervision once a month for approximately one hour, where they go through the individual cases and discuss the stage the case is at.

Other topics of discussion include: the practical interventions that have been put in place; the frustration of not being able to get outcomes for young people; the responses and reactions of young people to certain interventions; and the annoyance when young people reoffend, which often leads to feelings of being ‘let down’ by the young people.

Some of the case managers also have peer supervision. They find this beneficial as it enables them to “bounce off” one another in relation to difficult clients, and to gain support from others who can directly relate to how they’re feeling.

Corinne Henderson:

Although my supervisor is more experienced than I am, I consider our interactions to be ‘peer supervision’ in the traditional sense. It is individual and includes sharing professional experience.

I generally bring issues that I am grappling with concerning a current client in recent sessions, or share important stages reached and interventions made. I also take the opportunity to discuss professional goals, as well as interesting literature or emerging practice and approaches.

From time to time the impact of the client’s material on me will be discussed, particularly if it is affecting the relationship, rapport or process of the work.

Image: On its own by 55Laney69, CC BY-NC 2.0.

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