Practical Supervision: A Practical Guide to Supervision for the Helping Professions, by Penny Henderson, Jim Holloway, Anthea Millar, 2014, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 160 pages, $22.42.
Practical Supervision is a comprehensive and well outlined examination of the process and content of solid supervision. Early in the book, the authors examine the fact that clinicians often are thrown into supervision roles without any training or guidance. Their goal in presenting this material is to “orient people new to supervision in various helping professions to possibilities and practicalities” (p. 13.) The authors deliver exactly as promised; the book teaches practical supervision.
The authors approach supervision from an experienced and well-read perspective, which examines the supervisor’s internal process while also studying the supervisor’s actions and the supervisee’s response to supervision and to the client.
With just the right combination of practical wisdom and an understanding of the need for new supervisors to learn specific supervision skills, the authors present a useable guide to effective supervision. Readers will come away with practical ideas for the development of the clinical relationship and for exploring tasks, skills, and the dynamic process of supervision, as opposed to management. The book discusses how to handle clinical elements that occur in supervision, such as creativity, unconscious processes, and ethics.
Lastly, special modalities are discussed, such as the use of technology, group supervision, and other different contexts and roles of supervision. Throughout, the authors provide an outline for supervision that includes specific exercises and resources that can further the reader’s understanding of these topics. Practical Supervision provides resources and further education for the more seasoned supervisor who wants to improve his or her supervision sessions.
As a clinician and experienced clinical supervisor, I believe this book is truly a manual for all new supervisors who are interested in improving the effectiveness of their supervision. It allows readers to identify their supervisees’ supervision needs and respond to them effectively and efficiently. I would recommend this book to new supervisors and others who wish to improve their effectiveness in supervision.
Reviewed by Michelle Evans, LCSW, LSOTP, CADC, Clinical Supervisor, Cobra Clinical Services, Aurora, IL.