Workforce development - Supervision

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Workforce development in the AIFS library catalogue

When home becomes the workplace: family violence, practitioner wellbeing and remote service delivery during COVID-19 restrictions

Pfitzner N, Fitz-Gibbon K, McGowan J and True J
Clayton, Vic. : Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions have caused many organisations and service providers to move to remote working, telehealth and working from home. This report explores the impacts of these changes on the specialist family violence sector in Victoria, including the impact on wellbeing and the challenges and benefits of delivering services remotely. It presents insights from a survey of 113 practitioners responding and focus groups with 28 practitioners from specialist family violence and men's services during July-August 2020. The findings highlight the challenges of staying together as work teams, feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as the absence of the incidental support and debriefing provided by colleagues. This is central to staff wellbeing and self-care practice in this sector, and the changes have seen the practitioners' work invade what was once their safe personal space. Juggling home schooling and caring responsibilities is also an issue in what is a female-dominated workforce, and practice issues raised include client safety and risk assessment. However, there have also been benefits, through increased service accessibility and provision with less resource allocation, as well as the normalisation of remote work. The findings provide insights into telehealth in this sector and the support needs of staff.

Worker safety and domestic violence in child welfare systems

Mandel D
Simsbury, CT : Safe & Together Institute, 2019
Addressing workers' emotional and physical safety concerns must be at the forefront of efforts for child welfare agencies that want to become domestic violence-informed. This paper, from the team behind the Safe & Together Model, outlines key issues related worker safety in the context of domestic violence cases with a focus on supervisory and systems strategies for change. In particular, it highlights how worker safety fears are tied to gaps in perpetrator engagement and partnering with adult survivors. It features some basic questions that supervisors need to ask their workers in all domestic violence cases and concludes recommendations for system-wide reform.

Case closure : an under-examined part of the case management cycle.

Cousins C
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 49 2018: 86-96
This article looks at case closure - an important but rarely addressed part of the case management cycle in human services. It discusses the importance of setting clearly articulated goals, some of the influences that should be considered around the decision to close, pressures and becoming 'bored' or 'stuck', re-engagement, theoretical influences on closure, client reactions to proposed closure, strategies for agencies and individual workers, supervision, and questions for reflection. The article sets out that how the case manager defines, regularly revisits and keeps current the concept of ending needs to be a part of the conversation from early on, and be supported by appropriate scaffolding throughout the intervention.

Supporting isolated workers in their work with families in rural and remote Australia : exploring peer group supervision.

Nickson A, Gair S and Miles D
Children Australia v. 41 no. 4 Dec 2016: 265-274
Social workers face unique challenges in working with families, young people and children in rural and remote communities. Simultaneously, workers juggle dual relationships, personal boundaries and high visibility. Social work practise in rural Australia also faces high staff turnover, burnout and difficulties with recruitment, retention and available professional supervision. A lack of professional supervision has been identified as directly contributing to decreased worker retention in rural and remote areas. This paper reports on emerging themes from a qualitative research study on peer supervision in virtual teams in rural and remote Australia. Data collection consisted of pre- and post-trial individual interviews, monthly group supervision sessions, online evaluations and focus groups. A key conclusion from the study is that peer group supervision worked in supporting rural and remote workers to perform their everyday professional roles. The ease and access afforded by the use of simple technology was noteworthy. Whilst the research was conducted with social workers in rural and remote areas, the use of peer group supervision could be applicable for other professionals who work with families and communities in rural and remote Australia.

Safety as a fifth dimension in supervision : stories from the frontline.

McPherson L, Frederico M and McNamara P
Australian Social Work v. 69 no. 1 2016: 67-79
Child and family practice is recognised as a field of social work that has become increasingly complex. While evidence is growing in relation to effective supervision, there has been little research about the attributes of an effective supervisor, or the components of effective supervision. This paper reports on research undertaken in Victoria, Australia, which explored practitioners' and supervisors' experiences of effective supervision in this field. Data collection involved in-depth interviews with experienced supervisors and supervisees in order to explore the concept of effective supervision from participants' perspectives. The data were systematically interrogated using a thematic inductive process, designed to enhance the voice of participants in the research. The study findings confirmed the complexity and centrality of the supervisory relationship, with the experience of a safe supervisory relationship proving essential. The importance of contemporary knowledge, leadership skills, and an enabling organisational and community context were also highlighted. (Journal article)

Issues in the development of e-supervision in professional psychology : a review.

Deane F, Gonsalvez C, Blackman R, Saffioti D and Andresen R
Australian Psychologist v. 50 no. 3 Jun 2015: 241-247
Clinical psychology students and clinicians in regional and remote areas face challenges accessing required supervision and peer consultation. This article describes a new e-supervision application that provides online access to a database of clinical supervisors and peers and additional document sharing and video annotation tools to support standard supervision activities. It discusses the benefits of the system, developmental challenges, and the issues of online security and confidentiality.

Competency-based models of supervision : principles and applications, promises and challenges.

Gonsalvez C and Calvert F
Australian Psychologist v. 49 no. 4 Aug 2014: 200-208
The Psychology Board of Australia has introduced new guidelines that emphasise that supervisor training must adhere to a competency-based model. This article explains the theoretical underpinning and key features of competency-based models, and the implications for professional practice.

Getting more bang for your buck : what works best in professional development in the child, youth and family workforce.

McArthur M and Thomson B
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 39 Jul 2014: 41-53
There is little research on whether professional development in the child, youth and family services sector results in better outcomes for children and young people. However, lessons can still be gleaned from research in the health, education, and human services sector. This article explores the elements of effective professional development, the main models of professional development activities - such as supervision and organisational learning, and the implications for the child, youth and family services sector.

The critical importance of supervision in child protection : harnessing the energy of teams.

Alexander K
26 November 2014
This webinar will discuss the importance of supervision in child protection, and outline lessons from a group supervision approach adopted in New South Wales. The Office of the Senior Practitioner (OSP) is a newly established function for the NSW statutory child protection system, that aims to promote good practice, inspire, support and review the work of the frontline. Since it started, the OSP has been rolling out a new framework for child protection and out of home care service delivery called Practice First, which is based on ten principles of practice brought to life through group supervision. Two years down the track the OSP has seen an incredible shift in the workforce in the way they have embraced team-based work, and the framework has been refined along the way. This webinar will draw on the NSW experience, against a backdrop of the challenges of contemporary child protection. It will tell a story of a large statutory system working hard to reflect on its practice, the impact of its work and to harness the collective strength of its frontline.

Working with adolescents: supervision

Child Family Community Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014.
Youth work is a complex and stressful profession, demanding constant energy and exposing workers to traumatic circumstances. However, supervision - as a formal practice of insight - provides a platform for workers to better understand their reactions to clients and their situations, and to avoid burnout by addressing signs of hopelessness or vicarious anxieties. Written for practitioners, managers, and supervisors, this resource provides an overview of clinical supervision in youth work practice. It stresses the significance of reflective practice on worker wellbeing and client outcomes, and highlights the effectiveness of strengthening interventions and pathways of practice through discussion. The resource also examines supervision in the context of workplace culture, and introduces current methods and trends, including the 'TRUSTED' guide to supervision when working with adolescents.

The service environment in relationship-based practice : 'it's like a community'.

Reimer E
Children Australia v. 39 no. 1 Mar 2014: 25-33
The family service work environment has been linked to the parent-worker relationship (relationship) for many years. However, there is still much to understand about how the working environment and these relationships are connected. This paper reports on a small-scale qualitative study exploring the story of eight relationships between parents and family workers in four rurally based family services in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Hermeneutics provided a way of examining the dynamics of the relationships, as it enabled an in-depth exploration and interpretation of the participants' perspectives of how they experienced and understood the relationship. It became apparent that the work environment is an important influence on the relationship. New insights that emerged include the important role that staff not directly involved in the relationship (such as other family workers, supervisors, and administration and other professional staff) may play in assisting relationships. They also include the way in which flexible service delivery options support parent feelings of comfort, readiness to change, reciprocity, a sense of ownership to the service and need for support outside of planned appointments (both during and after intervention has ceased). These all support the development and maintenance of such relationships.

Collaborative approaches to family systems supervision : differentiation of self.

MacKay L and Brown J
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 34 no. 4 Dec 2013: 325-337
This article explores collaborative approaches to supervision in family therapy.

Integrating reflective practice in family therapy supervision.

Senediak C
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 34 no. 4 Dec 2013: 338-351
This article looks at how reflective practice can be integrated into the family therapy supervisory relationship.

Developing family therapy skills on a shoe string budget : a peer supervision and training approach.

Stiefel I, Brand M, Hinchcliffe D and Innes W
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 34 no. 4 Dec 2013: 311-324
This article describes a cost effective and accessible peer supervision and training approach to learning family therapy skills in the workplace. This particular model was developed for skills relevant to working with families of young children.

Mentoring or monitoring : formulating a balance in systemic supervision.

Shaw E
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 34 no. 4 Dec 2013: 296-310
This article argues that a balance between monitoring and mentoring is crucial for effective supervision in family therapy, and suggests a practical framework for supervision.

What do we really know about best practice allied health professional supervision? The challenges and rewards of preparing a systematic review and preliminary findings.

Ducat W
12th National Rural Health Conference : strong commitment, bright future : 7-10 April 2013, Adelaide Convention Centre. Deakin, ACT : National Rural Health Alliance, 2013: 8p
The Cunningham Centre in Northern Queensland is currently conducting a research synthesis of professional supervision in allied health disciplines. The synthesis will focus on the experience and effects of supervision on practice, service delivery and client outcomes, in particular for geographically or professionally isolated practitioners. This paper reflects on the challenges and rewards of embarking on a systematic review, and presents some preliminary findings and comments on the state of the research.

Bicultural practice in the Northern Territory children and families sector: practitioners' reflections of working two-ways

McGuinness K and Leckning B
Casuarina, NT : Menzies School of Health Research, 2013.
In the child and families sector in the Northern Territory, there is an increasing recognition of the need to work in ways that harness the bicultural capital of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal practice. This study aims to identify key elements of effective bicultural practice, with a profile of 9 mainstream and Aboriginal organisations delivering services in remote, regional and urban settings across both the Top End and Central Australia. Based on these findings, the study also presents a two-way practice framework suitable for use by both government and non-government organisations to develop cultural competence as an effective tool in working partnerships. The framework incorporates strategies and outcomes in the areas of governance and leadership, recruitment and training, operational management, co-working models, cultural safety, and reflective practice.

Clinical supervisor training in Australia: a review of current problems and possible solutions.

Gonsalvez C and Milne D
Australian Psychologist v. 45 no. 3 Dec 2010: 233-242
Clinical supervision cuts to the heart of professional psychology training. It is the most expensive single investment of staff time in the training of the psychology practitioner, and it appears to be the single most important contributor to training effectiveness, repaying that investment. Now there are changes afoot internationally which may change its pivotal role. For example, the Psychology Board of Australia has recently proposed that supervisors undergo approved supervisor training; in the USA, a competence-based emphasis is gaining ground; while in the UK, supervisors within the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative are receiving unprecedented training and support. It is therefore timely to clarify the need for such training and to consider promising options for its effective delivery. Following a summary of the changes within Australia, we next address these emergent problems and promising solutions by examining the available scientific evidence and by considering professional consensus statements.

Emotional intelligence as a framework for understanding core child protection skills.

Withers-Mayne C
Children Australia v. 35 no. 4 2010: 37-42
Child protection is a specialised field but it appears that few studies have attempted to define and explain the competencies, such as self-awareness, self-management and relationship-building, that are fundamental to child protection work. This paper suggests that the construct of emotional intelligence provides a useful framework for articulating these key areas of competence in child protection. To this end, a model of emotional intelligence competencies and associated skills is proposed. Workplace strategies for developing emotional intelligence in the context of child protection are then explored. These include reflective supervision, with its emphasis on thinking, feeling and doing, and interactive training exercises.

Supervision in MRE : an essential ingredient.

Lacey D
Threshold no. 99 Aug 2010: 12-13
This article explains the benefits and use of supervision for educators and facilitators working in marriage and relationship education. Supervision is part of best practice for these services, to ensure the best possible outcomes for participants. With reference to the practices at Centacare Catholic family Services, the articles urges service providers to develop a supervision model for their organisation.

Clinical supervision after suicide : panacea or pretence?

Clark J
Psychotherapy in Australia v. 16 no. 1 Nov 2009: 16-23
Much has been made of the need for therapists to engage in clinical supervision as part of their ongoing professional development. But just how effective is supervision in instances of client suicide? The author examines the supervisory experiences of ten therapists in relation to the suicidal deaths of their clients. Data analysis using narrative methods found varying degrees of therapist satisfaction in relation to the supervisory process, suggesting that clinical supervision does not always meet the needs of therapists after a client suicide. Findings suggest that this arises from supervision having become, to some degree, a risk management strategy rather than an experiential arena for discussion of valid therapeutic concerns. In an effort to ameliorate this situation, recommendations are made with regard to required changes to current supervisory frameworks and practice.

Early childhood services and support for vulnerable families: lessons from the Benevolent Society's Partnerships in Early Childhood program.

Valentine K, Thomson C and Antcliff G
Australian Journal of Social Issues v. 44 no. 2 Winter 2009: 195-213
Access to early childhood services is widely considered to be an important means of supporting vulnerable children and families. Yet the evidence that access to such services automatically makes a difference for vulnerable families is mixed at best. The growing presence of for-profit early childhood services may have an impact on the sector's capacity to provide the enhanced education and care to those most likely to benefit What are the current and future possibilities for early childhood services to benefit vulnerable children and families? What resources are required to build the capacity of early childhood settings in supporting vulnerable families, and are these likely to differ between for-profit and not-for-profit settings? This paper explores these questions using a Benevolent Society project, Partnerships in Early Childhood (PIEC), funded through the Commonwealth's Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, Invest to Grow, as an illustrative case study. Researchers from the Social Policy Research Centre evaluated the first three years of the project, which involves a number of not-for-profit early education and care providers. The paper describes the implementation of PIEC as an attempt to improve the quality of early education and care services to vulnerable children, and lessons that can be drawn for the future of similar interventions. The authors conclude that time, support for staff and partnerships between different organisations appear to be critical for the success of these interventions, and that the capacity of for-profit services to provide these resources deserves attention.

Family of origin supervision in the workplace : impacts on therapist and team functioning.

Donnelly H and Gosbee M
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 30 no. 4 Dec 2009: 300-314
The Adolescent and Family Unit at Redbank House carried out a trial of Bowen's Family of Origin Coaching that has prompted us to comment on the usefulness of this approach as a component of clinical supervision. This article will describe how this trial came about, the process adaptations required to make it possible and how some of the ethical dilemmas raised by this approach were addressed. Personal reflections from the team members will be shared, and our observations in terms of impact of this form of supervision on clinical functioning, team cohesion and service provision will then be discussed. In essence, we aim to provide an anecdotal account of our experience and ask the question, 'Is supervision that focuses on the therapist's individual functioning as a product of their intergenerational patterns a valid use of resources in a clinical setting?'

Social work supervision and its role in enabling a community visitor program that promotes and protects the rights of children.

Baglow L
Australian Social Work v. 62 no. 3 Sep 2009: 353-368
This article explores the characteristics of traditional social work supervision, comparing it with supervision in the counselling/clinical field and in industry. The contention is that while social work supervision has learned from advances in other supervisory fields, the traditional social work supervision functions of administration, education, support and mediation lead to more holistic practice within child protection work than is possible using other narrower frameworks. A discussion of supervision within a community visitor program that promotes and protects the rights and interests of children and young people who are in state care is used to support this contention.

From mindless to mindful practice : on learning reflection in supervision.

Carroll M
Psychotherapy in Australia v. 15 no. 4 Aug 2009: 38-49
While there is much literature and research on reflection and reflective practice, there is relatively little to help individuals and small groups learn how to be reflective. Too much depends on reflection for it to be left to chance or the hope that it might be picked up during the journey of life. Rather, it seems wiser to teach or facilitate how to reflect, so that individuals and groups can be assured of having such a precious commodity. Michael Carroll describes what reflective learning means and considers the elements that support and block being reflective. A model of reflection is offered to help trainers to teach practitioners in reflection and, in particular, how to use reflection in supervision. Suggestions are offered on how we can help others, in this case supervisees, learn how to be more reflective.

An exploration of the family partnership model in New Zealand

Wilson H and Huntington A
Wellington N.Z. : Families Commission, 2009
This report describes the Family Partnership Model (FPM) and looks at its potential value for family support services in New Zealand. The study assessed interest in and views on the appropriateness of the FPM by agencies and organisations, across sectors, that work with families. The responses, coupled with a review of the literature, led to the authors concluding that a cross-sector strategy for funding and training staff in this model could be considered at a policy level, to move towards a coordinated approach to service delivery. Training in the FPM could also benefit non professionals. The FPM adddresses three issues: identifying the unmet mental health needs of the community, barriers to interagency collaboration, and the need for skilled clinical supervision for front-line practitioners.

Confronting anxiety in couple and family therapy supervision : a developmental supervisory model based on attachment theory.

Hill E
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 30 no. 1 Mar 2009: 1-14
Referencing relevant supervisory literature and attachment theory, this article presents a developmental couple and family therapy supervisory model that emphasises the efficacy of the supervisory relationship. Issues concerning anxiety, cognition and learning theory are addressed and phases in the supervisory process are identified and described. Cognitive, emotional and social development are linked to attachment theory and discussed in the supervisory context.

Professional supervision and the development of working knowledge.

Apte J
Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal no. 21 Winter 2008: 34-42
The concept of working knowledge in the context of workplace learning is explored in relation to the developmental function of professional supervision. The functions of professional supervision are outlined and barriers to their implementation discussed. The paper emphasises the importance of skilled and confident supervisors, who can assist new workers or those who have settled into a habitual comfort zone by using a range of adaptive approaches to engage workers with practice challenges.

Within-session supervision communication in the training of clinical psychologists.

Hunt C and Sharpe L
Australian Psychologist v. 43 no. 2 Jun 2008 : 121-126
There is little research evaluating within-session supervision communication in the training of clinical psychologists. This study evaluated the perception of 37 interns and 49 patients regarding communication between supervisor and intern during the therapy session. Most supervisors used such communication infrequently. While some interns and patients viewed call-ins or walk-ins as intrusive and unhelpful, the majority did not. Indeed, some valued the feedback. No association was found between the use of call-ins or walk-ins and patient reports of therapist behaviours or intern reports of supervisory style. It is concluded that within-session communication is not deemed as necessary by most supervisors, who should remain cautious in their use of such communication, unless patient care is compromised.

Opinions of Australian Psychological Society College Chairs about process and content in supervision training : preliminary investigation in Queensland.

O'Donovan A, Slattery L, Kavanagh D and Dooley R
Australian Psychologist v. 43 no. 2 Jun 2008 : 114-120
Few psychologists in Australia have been trained to provide supervision to probationary psychologists. The current preliminary study investigated whether a supervision training workshop could, in the view of representative psychologists, provide effective training across a range of psychological specialties, or whether separate training was needed for different specialties. The nine Queensland Chairs of the Australian Psychological Society specialisation colleges were given a semi-structured interview to investigate the goals, content and processes of supervision within their specialty, and perceived relationships with other specialties. Results indicated considerable agreement regarding the content and process of supervision across specialties, suggesting that supervision has much in common regardless of specialty.
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