Multi-agency approaches to systemic supervision

  • Participants on the systemic supervision course will be encouraged to explore the interface between themselves as people and the supervisory, managerial and/or leadership roles that they carry out within their own organization or agency setting. A key aim of the course is to facilitate each candidate's development as 'a self-reflexive independent thinker', with emphasis being placed on the application of systemic and other helpful theories to their current supervisory practice.
  • A range of supervisory models will be discussed over the duration of the course, which will also provide an introduction to systemic thinking and explore relevant journal articles related to systemic supervision. Participants will be encouraged to develop their existing supervisory knowledge and practice, and will be supported by course staff to apply this learning within their own agency setting.
  • Graduates, who have previously completed foundation and/or intermediate level training courses in systemic psychotherapy, may find their prior knowledge of systemic theory and practice provides them with a useful platform from which to undertake a further year of study on this systemic supervision course, especially if they are currently occupying leadership roles within their own agency.

Further information

  • The course will consist of 30 participants.

  • The venue for the course: In response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing, this will now be predominantly taught online with up to 4 days face-to-face teaching at Hellesden Hospital, Drayton High Road, Norwich NR6 5BE, if applicable and/or possible.

  • Each teaching day will include 5 hours of direct contact with course staff. Participants attend training days, and are required to attend at least 80% of teaching sessions.

  • The course is of clinical value as a 'stand-alone training course' for professionals from the fields of social work, mental health and education, currently working with vulnerable client groups.

  • All participants are required to have the consent of their line manager and be working in an environment that supports the development of their supervisory practice within their own agency context.

Study structure

This course will involve a total of 240 hours of supervisory practice hours, including:

  • 60 hours of direct teaching from course staff whilst on the training days.
  • 120 hours of independent study including: course reading between sessions; completion of learning portfolio's; supervisor's log and required coursework; and essays, presentations, tutor group related homework etc.

Each trainee will be expected to complete 60 hours of systemic supervision practice comprising of:

  • 30 hours of direct retrospective systemic supervision on a one-to-one basis to other professionals within their own agency setting. For those already supervising professional colleagues, we would expect these hours to come from existing supervisory relationships, rather than be in addition to their current workload
  • 15 hours of group supervision within their own agency running a reflective practice group
  • 10 hours of direct systemic supervision from a designated clinical supervisor
  • Reflective practice groups
  • Tutor groups
  • Learning portfolios.

Essential workplace requirements

  • Over the duration of this course, all professional groups (other than qualified systemic psychotherapists) must be in a position to complete 50 hours of systemic supervision within their place of work, with this rising to a minimum of 80 hours for qualified systemic psychotherapists. Audio-visual recording of both individual and group supervision sessions are also an invaluable tool for learning, and throughout the duration of this course, trainees will be encouraged to undertake this whenever possible.
  • Although the majority of course candidates will not be qualified systemic psychotherapists, it is intended that support from the course staff and clinical supervisors will ensure that all course trainees should feel in a position to supervise their professional colleagues based on their growing understanding of systemic theory and practice.

Course aims and objectives

A key aim of the course is to facilitate each candidate's development as 'a self-reflexive independent thinker', with emphasis being placed on the application of systemic and other helpful theories to their supervisory practice within their own agency setting.

On completion of the course, participants should be able to demonstrate the following core competencies:

  • A familiarity with a broad range of literature relating to clinical supervision and systemic practice, including more recent publications.
  • An ability to evaluate the different theories underpinning systemic supervision, and be able to use these ideas in practice across a range of different organisational contexts and work settings.
  • An ability to describe the differences and similarities between approaches to supervision from both within and external to the field of systemic therapy.
  • An ability to show a commitment to actively promote ethical, anti-discriminatory practice, and to highlight and critique culturally-based assumptions.
  • A familiarity with the Association of Family Therapy Code of Ethics and Practice and its implications for supervisory practice.
  • Further development in awareness of personal development processes, and an ability to begin to use these processes in self-reflective ways within supervisory practice.
  • An ability to appropriately adapt skills and techniques in own personal area of practice.
  • An ability to discuss the impact of key legislative frameworks covering the different agency settings, specific to the three jurisdictions of children, mental health and community care on systemic practice.
  • Candidates will show a range of approaches to systemic supervision and develop their ability to use different supervision models, as well as explore the similarities and differences between these models.
  • Candidates will become aware of a range of literature on different supervisory practices from both within and external to the field of systemic psychotherapy.
  • Candidates will develop a 'theory of supervision'.
  • Candidates will be able to discuss what constitutes good ethical supervisory practice within the field of systemic psychotherapy.
  • 'Critical thinking and analysis' will be developed so that candidates are more able to both evaluate and constructively challenge cultural, class and/or institutionally based assumptions and actively promote anti-discriminatory practice.
  • Skills in critically examining research in relation to systemic supervision and evaluation will be developed.
  • Candidates will develop their ability to explain and analyse their supervisory practice, in both verbal and written forms.
  • Candidates will develop as self-reflexive thinkers.

Teaching methods

  • This course is now predominantly taught online, with up to 4 days face-to-face teaching if practicable or possible.
  • Reading materials.

  • Power-point and lecture style presentations.

  • Workshops facilitated by teaching staff and visiting tutors.

  • Small and large group discussion anchored by course staff.

  • Role-plays primarily informed by case material.

  • Case consultation including the use of reflecting teams.

  • Personal/professional mapping of the mutual influence of systemic ideas.

  • DVDs, internet downloads & films.

  • Audio/video tape review of candidate's supervisory practice from their own agency.

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