Bernard and Goodyear (1998 pg. 6) define supervision as:
“Supervision is an intervention that is provided by a senior member of a profession to a junior member or members of that same profession. This relationship is evaluative, extends over time, and has the simultaneous purposes of enhancing the professional functioning of the junior member(s), monitoring the quality of professional services offered to the clients she, he, or they see(s), and serving as a gatekeeper of those who are to enter the particular profession.”

The literature on supervision is vast, over 20,000 references could be found by searching the literature databases across various disciplines, mostly in the psychotherapy/counselling literature with focus in ethical issues, practice examples, descriptions of models, issues around the specific characteristics of supervision (as it also interacts with management), and the effects/outcomes of supervision.

While the requirement for supervision and any researched outcomes have been slow in coming, the need for regular on-going supervision has been a contentious issue, causing much debate, since the 1980’s (McMahon and Patton 2002).

Currently in Australia, most organisations provide appropriate support in the provision of supervision (internal/external); or educational institutions; or in private practice, the therapist is responsible to organise supervision. Supervision is also a mandatory membership requirement by professional bodies such as ACA, APS, PACFA, AASW, etc. (J. Barletta: Barletta, N. Pelling, & P. Armstrong 2009’)

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“What lies
behind us
and what lies
before us
are tiny matters
compared to
what lies
within us”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)