Reflective Supervision


The primary focus of reflective supervision is "the shared exploration of the emotional content of infant and family work as expressed in relationships between parents and infants,
parents and practitioners, and supervisors and practitioners".

(Weatherston and Barron,2009, p.63*)


Being reflective in our work means:

  • examining our own thoughts in relation to the children and families we work with
  • being self-aware
  • remaining curious and open, and
  • consulting with peers and supervisors to understand our own capacities and needs as well as those of the families we work with.

Reflection is a core area of competency when working in the infant and family field.

Reflective supervision supports and guides this reflective process. It is a key requirement for AAIMH WA Endorsement® in the categories of Infant Family Practitioner, Infant Mental Health Practitioner or Infant Mental Health Mentor.

Reflective supervision

Reflective supervision is often referred to as 'reflective supervision/consultation' (RS/C). It provides a place for practitioners to reflect on their work and on the relationships associated with it.

Reflective supervision is different to traditional supervision which is often instructional, directive and prescriptive and where, as the supervisee, you can feel more of a passive participant.

Reflective supervision also differs from clinical supervision in three key ways:

  • attention to all relevant relationships, including between the practitioner and caregiver, caregiver and infant/young child, and practitioner and supervisor
  • attention to the emotional content of the work, and how reactions to the content affect working with the infant and caregiver
  • emphasis on the supervisor's ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions on his/her own, without interruptions from the supervisor.

The ultimate aim of reflective supervision is to facilitate the ongoing development of the practitioner's reflective process. This will lead to higher quality services to infants, young children and their families.


*Weatherston, D. & Barron, C. (2009). What does a reflective supervisory relationship look like? in S. Heller & L. Gilkerson (Eds.), A practical guide to reflective supervision. Washington, D.C.: Zero to Three Press.


Reflective supervision while we are
introducing Endorsement

As we begin the Endorsement process in Western Australia, there are very few professionals who have obtained IMH Endorsement  and can provide RS/C for those who want to apply for AAIMH WA Endorsement®.

While we are building WA's IMH Endorsement network of professionals, we are temporarily accepting applications form members whose reflective supervisors have not yet been endorsed but are 'vetted' (authorised) as RS/C providers.

'Vetting' can happen in two ways:

  • An applicant applies for Endorsement and lists their supervision as part of their portfolio. The Endorsement Coordinator will then contact the supervisor to schedule an interview, and email a copy of the 'AAIMH WA Best Practice for Reflective Supervision/Consultation' document and interview questions to the supervisor.

OR

  • A supervisor can contact the Endorsement Coordinator, ask to be authorised and submit a resume. The Endorsement Coordinator will schedule an interview, and email a copy of the 'Best Practice for Reflective Supervision/Consultation' document and interview questions to the supervisor.

Supervisors/consultants must demonstrate minimum educational and work experience required to meet the AAIMH WA Endorsement® standards in the approved category (see table in Categories of Endorsement).  Vetting  will be valid for up to five years.

RS/C hours provided by qualified supervisors vetted by AAIMH WA can be used in an application toward Endorsement.

What about peer reflective supervision?
Peer supervision is defined as 'colleagues meeting together without an identified supervisor to guide the reflective process'.

While valuable for many experienced practitioners, peer supervision does not meet the reflective supervision criteria for AAIMH WA Endorsement®.


If you have questions about reflective supervision requirements or need assistance with your application, contact the Endorsement Coordinator at endorsementwa@aaimhi.org


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