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Clinical supervision: an interdisciplinary review of literature with implications for reflective practice in social work

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This review explores the ways in which being a clinical supervisor and supervisee is represented in the interdisciplinary literature with implications for reflective practice in social work. Clinical supervision (CS), which is considered as 'effective', is described in the literature as occurring with a trained and experienced supervisor who can provide expertise and the continuity of a clinical supervisory relationship in which there are opportunities for engaging in a sustained on-the job reflection. From this dialogue, insights into practice can grow and flourish. However, this kind of supervisory relationship is an ideal rather than the reality of many practice environments. Developing different modes of relating in the practice environment where trust and respect can exist and differences of power, and culture acknowledged in terms of gender, class, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, is a current challenge for clinical supervisors and supervisees in social work. Models of CS drawn from transactional analysis (TA), Relational-Cultural therapy and Gestalt models in psychotherapy offer new understandings of the relationship needed in CS for it to be seen as a 'safe place' to reflect upon practice.
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Keywords: Gestalt; Transactional Analysis and Relational-Cultural Therapy; clinical supervision; reflective practice; social work

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: 01 November 2009

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