Supervision: praxis and purpose - Developing a critical model of practice for those working with children and young people post Munro

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By Brian Belton, Justin Hall, Tina Salter and John Peaper

Large format paperback, 144 pages

Published August 2011

This book provides a critical analysis of both the practice of supervision and the theories behind it, questioning the taken-for-granted notions of supervision that have evolved since their origins in the 1960's.

Exploring an area that has received little in-depth critical research, it rings to the discussion of supervision theory the same level of critical questioning that Belton proposed should be applied within the practice of supervision itself. It hopes to enable supervisors to develop or improve existing practice, and eventually replace the existing 'church' of supervision with a new and more effective relevant paradigm. It:

  • examines the theoretical basis of supervision and it's purposes and aims
  • examines the potential and actual role of supervision in supporting coaching practice and offers a perspective on the techniques and responses in reflective practice. It considers supervision, and it's distinctiveness in relation to coaching, mentoring, psychotherapy and counselling models, and it's pace in developing best practice in the growing context of coaching
  • highlights the importance of dialogue as the basis of supervision, and explores how dialectical relations can facilitate considered practice and create new directions from mutually questioning encounters
  • looks at the educational purposes and functions of supervision in the light of Martin Buber's philosophy of dialogue
  • explores how reflective practice (based on the fragile and un can reliable nature of human memory) can provide a reliable basis on which to advance understanding or professional intervention

It will encourage the reader to:

  • engage in thinking about what supervision is, and whit it could be
  • employ logical questioning and critical analysis to their own supervision - either as supervisor or supervisee
  • base supervision on the honing of professional judgment through the reasoned review of practice
  • turn supervision away from something designed to make the supervisee feel better into something that enables the supervise to 'do better'> (Belton argues that if a supervisor detects the need for therapy or counselling, it be best practice to make the supervisor aware of this judgment and offer help with referral if required)

Based on Belton's work with young people, this book is applicable in various situations, including youth work and social work, and is set within the context of the Munro Review of Child Protection with it's emphasis on regular critical supervision. It is also relevant more broadly within welfare and the care-related professions. Suitable for those new to supervision and to more experienced practitioners, students, lecturers and researchers. This book can be read through or dipped into as required for reference and practice.


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