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SWSP3903 Professional Supervision

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: Successful completion of four Level 200 units
Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Elective

Unit Description

This unit explores in more depth the socio-political, cultural and organisational context of supervision, theory and frameworks for its use in professional settings. Students will have the opportunity to practice different approaches to supervision and reflect on their efficacy in different cultural and organisational contexts. Individual, group, peer and workplace supervision will be explored with a critical and reflective lens. Students will be encouraged to develop their own supervisory styles through the use of case studies, role plays and difficult scenarios with class discussion.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse and evaluate the historical development of supervision and its theoretical approaches and models for use in social work and the helping professions.
  2. Critically evaluate the contribution that class, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, age, ability, gender and sexuality have on the theories and practices of supervision.
  3. Establish the basis of supervisory relationship skills in establishing learning goals and objectives for use in supervision.
  4. Critically evaluate the role and function of the supervisor and supervision including the influence of personal values, ethics, codes of practice, use of language and professional conduct in relation to supervision and its theoretical underpinnings.
  5. Critique the professionals' use and ownership of knowledge and its implication for clients self-determination and empowerment.
  6. Examine the impact of professionalisation on the contemporary practice of supervision.
  7. Develop a personal model of supervision that reflects current professional and agency practice, which includes self-reflection and cross-cultural perspectives.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.

Assessment Summary



Word Count

Week Assessed

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Reflective Essay


250 words


1, 4, 6

Literature Review




1, 2, 4

Role Play




1, 2, 3, 4, 6



2,000 words


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Recommended Texts

  • Bernard, J. M., & Goodyear, R. K. (2013). Fundamentals of clinical supervision (5th ed.). Upper Sadle River, NJ: Merrill.
  • Wonnacott, J. (2012). Mastering social work supervision. London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Recommended Readings

  • Carroll, M., & Tholstrup, M. (Eds.) (2001). Integrative approaches to supervision. London, England: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Certo, S. C. (2006). Supervision: Concepts and skill building (5th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
  • Corey, G., Haynes, R., & Moulton, P. (2010). Clinical supervision in the helping professions: A practical guide (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
  • Eley, A., & Murray, R. (2009). How to be an effective supervisor: Best practice in research student supervision. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.
  • Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. (2006). Supervision in the helping professions (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, England: McGraw Hill/Open University Press.
  • Henderson, P. G. (2009). The new handbook of administrative supervision in counseling. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Hess, A. K., Hess, K. D., & Hess, T. H. (Eds.) (2008). Psychotherapy supervision: Theory, research, and practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Leonard, E. C., & Hilgert, R. L. (2004). Supervision: Concepts and practices of management (9th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.
  • Milne, D. (2009). Evidence-based clinical supervision. Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Omand, L. (2009). Supervision in counselling and psychotherapy: An introduction. Basingstoke, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Pellin, N., Barletta, J., & Armstrong, P. (Eds.) (2009). The practice of clinical supervision. Bowen Hills, Australia: Australian Academic Press.
  • Proactor, B. (2008). Group supervision: A guide to creative practice (2nd ed.). London, England: SAGE Publications.
  • Scaife, J. (2009). Supervision in clinical practice: A practitioner's guide (2nd ed.). London, England: Routledge.
  • Tsui, M. (2005). Social work supervision: Contexts and concepts. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.


  • Australian Social Work
  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.