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Different Types of Social Work Supervision and Their Importance

CATEGORIES: The art of Supervision

Jul, 8 2013

Different Types of Social Work Supervision and Their Importance

Supervision is an important aspect of any job. Without it, employees run around doing their own thing, and at the end of the day, this can have an adverse effect on your business. A supervisor in the social work field plays an important role when dealing with families.

Supervision in this field is critical. By being supervised, a social worker has the correct tools when dealing with cases. A supervisor also evaluates the service given by a social worker and uses this to develop their skills which will help them in the future. Supervision also provides constructive feedback on performance, past or present, and is essential for the duty of the social worker. There are different types of social work supervision.

·         Administrative Supervision

The main purpose of Administrative Supervision is to ensure that the job of the social worker is accomplished correctly. This is a crucial, and often the most rigid aspect of social work supervision, as it involves the more behind-the-scenes activities of assessing the needs of each client as well as agency employees, keeping accurate records, knowing and ensuring that proper guidelines are being followed by the social worker, and staffing and coordinating assignments between social workers.

·         Clinical Supervision

Clinical Supervision involves teaching and educating a junior social worker about the necessary attitudes, skills, and knowledge needed to perform the clinical task. Most importantly, clinical social work supervision guarantees that a less experienced social worker is not engaging in poor or harmful practice toward agency clients. This mentor-mentee relationship usually lasts for a period of two years before the social worker is permitted to practice autonomously.


·          Supportive Supervision

This type of social work supervision focuses on the task of enhancing a social worker’s job performance. Ensuring that a social worker is equipped with the necessary skills to do their job more effectively can also help them develop a sense of ease when doing certain aspects of their jobs.

We should remember the importance of supervision. From the time a student begins interning to on-the-job practice, proper social work supervision not only ensures that clients are treated correctly, but also seeks to develop and enhance the skills of each social worker.

In today’s world, the method of supervision does not need to always be face to face. With technology, the task of social work supervision can often be accomplished via video conferencing, over the phone, or even via email as well as in the more traditional one on one or group settings.

It is recommended that social work supervision should continue for five years after a social worker graduates from their initial training programs and after agent s receive their advanced clinical licence. Supervision itself should also be done in the correct manner, and by documenting all supervision activity. This can save you money as social workers have become regular targets in malpractice suits and a court can easily obtain the services of another agency to verify that, as a supervisor, you have followed the correct procedures and guidelines.