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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-approach/practice-standards/use-professional-supervision/the-supervision-session/
Printed: 24/04/2024
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Last updated: 01/04/2019

The supervision session

To make the most of professional supervision, prepare thoroughly before each session.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

Preparing for a supervision session

Things you could do to prepare for a supervision session include:

  • Thinking about the key things you need to discuss during your supervision session.
  • Setting up an agenda with your priorities for discussion.
  • Reflecting on the key objectives and the support you need for your practice decisions.
  • Organising and taking with you up-to-date records, case notes and other material to help inform any decision-making.

Using supervision to guide professional growth

As well as your practice, supervision should guide your professional growth. You may want to discuss particular topics relevant to your goals with your supervisor.

You could prepare for this by doing some prior reading and bringing a relevant article to discuss.

Using supervision to manage stress and trauma

You should also use supervision sessions to reflect on your own wellbeing, and to consider any impacts of working with tamariki who have experienced complex trauma. 

Kaimahi ora — focus on wellbeing

"I come well-prepared for supervision and am fully engaged with the supervision process, in line with the Oranga Tamariki supervision process."

Practice standard: Use professional supervision

Structuring the session

There are different models you can use for critical reflection in a supervision session.

You or your supervisor could:

  • use prompt questions
  • discuss different scenarios for practice
  • use an Appreciative Inquiry approach
  • focus on feedback from tamariki, whānau and caregivers on specific aspects of your practice or decisions that have been made.

Map of session stages and phases

Kieran O’Donoghue (2014) proposes an interactional map for the supervision session. The relationship between supervisee and supervisor is interactional and collaborative.

This process is also useful:

  • for assisting new supervisees and supervisors as a lead-in to their initial discussions
  • to help guide a session back into focus
  • as a method to review sessions.

1 Preparation

Supervisee phases:

  • Continual consideration
  • Session preparation

Supervisor phases:

  • Reviewing records
  • Thinking about the forthcoming session
  • Attending to the setting

2 Beginning

Supervisee phases:

  • Social engagement
  • Orientation

Supervisor phases:

  • Starting
  • Checking-in

3 Planning

Supervisee and supervisor phases:

  • Agenda setting
  • Prioritising items

4 Working

Supervisee phases:

  • Telling the story or presenting an item

Supervisor phases:

  • Clarifying and exploring the story or issue

5 Ending

Supervisee phases:

  • Summary and review
  • The practicalities of next session

Supervisor phases:

  • Reviewing what was covered
  • Finishing up the session
  • Finishing the notes

Supervision records

We must maintain a supervision record for each session that captures discussions and agreed actions. It also provides evidence of attendance.

Supervision record template – landscape (DOCX 269 KB)

Supervision record template — portrait (DOCX 153 KB)

Policy: Professional supervision — Record-keeping