Safety as a fifth dimension in supervision: stories from the frontline
McPherson, L, Frederico, M & McNamara, P 2016, 'Safety as a fifth dimension in supervision: stories from the frontline', Australian Social Work, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 67-79.
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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.