The Purpose and Duration of Supervision, and the Training and Discipline of Supervisors: What Social Workers Say They Need to Provide Effective Services

The intent of this paper is to contribute to an emerging configuration of supervision that has the support of contemporary social workers. A concurrent mixed-model-nested research design was used to discover the post-degree supervision needs of social workers concerning the purpose and duration of supervision, and the training and discipline of supervisors. These four areas of supervision have been investigated and written about repeatedly without resolution. A mixed-methods web survey on supervision was completed by 636 social workers from a broad spectrum of social work practice settings and geographical locations in Ontario, Canada. Quantitative data and written responses from the three open-ended questions are presented as an integrated narrative. The results provide evidence of what social workers say they need as well as their suggestions that could bring ongoing debates closer to resolution. Future research is needed to continue shaping preferred configurations of supervision for effective social work practice.

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