Matt Rankine and Andrew Thompson
Supervision for social workers is an essential vehicle for revitalising, reflecting and transforming practice.
In our new article, we open the doors on our supervision session, with Matt as supervisee and Andrew as supervisor, and critically reflect on the content and process.
Using critical reflection as the research method, we co-construct and examine the content of our recorded supervision sessions and follow-up with participatory reflection sessions using a ‘thinking aloud’ process. “Thinking aloud” simply means talking together about our motivations, meaning-making, discussing models of practice and considerations in response to a transcript of the supervision session.
Critical reflection identifies the location of power and how this impacts on practice and decision making. Consequently, our practice is enriched through the method of deconstructing and reconstructing items raised in supervision. Using critical reflection provides insights into the process and content of the supervision session. The key themes that emerge are the significance of building trust and recognition of power between supervisor and supervisee; the shared use of metaphoric language and meaning; using different media as innovations; the process as structure and the balancing of personal and professional issues within supervision.
This has been an informative and enlightening process that has enriched our practice. This study indicates enormous benefit for further research into the supervision session using critical reflection as a research methodology. We invite other social workers to open their supervision sessions and explore the boundaries and limits of personal disclosure. Given its inherent complexities and contradictions, critical reflection in social work needs development in research so that it is relevant to global and local contexts.
Rankine, M., & Thompson, A. (2015). ‘Swimming to shore’: co-constructing supervision with a thinking-aloud process. Reflective Practice, 16(4), 508-521. doi:10.1080/14623943.2015.1064377
Matt Rankine Professional Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland and External Supervisor
Andrew Thompson Professional Teaching Fellow, The University of Auckland; Social Worker, Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board and External Supervisor