Alberta College of Social Workers

Supervisor Gateway

Supervision plays a key role in the development of social workersand social work practice. for individuals applying to become a registered member, key aspects of the required knowledge and the application of that knowledge to clients and the client's circumstances is realizede through the supervisory process.

Supervision is defined as the collaborative relationship between supervisor and supervisee in which the development of competence and ethical practice is the primary objective. 

Search the Supervisor Roster

Benefits of joining the ACSW Supervisor Roster

As a supervisor you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain professional development credits toward competence requirements
  • Expand your network
  • Share yuor experience and wisdom. Your real-world experience matters.
  • Supervisees/mentees challenge your assumptions, test your knowledge, ask intriguing questions
  • Gain insight into the new perspectives and ideas

Role of a supervisor

The role of the supervisor is to:

  • Provide all or a portion of the practice supervision that a candidate for registration requires to meet the 1500 hours of supervised practival experience. 
  • Nuture and supporter continual learning.
  • Help the supervisee become aware of and deal with their reactions to the emotional intensirty of their work with clients. 
  • Promote insight into practice through reflection.
  • Support knowledge aquisition.
  • Model professional use of supervision as an inherent aspect of social work practice.

The activities of supervision

The activities of supervision are captured by three primary domains that may overlap: administrative, educational and supportive.
  • Administrative supervision is synonymous with management. It is implementation of adminstrative methods that enable social workers to provide effective services to clients. Adminstrative supervision is oriented toward agency plicy or organizational demands and focuses on a supervisee's level of functioning on the job and work assignment.
  • Educational supervision focuses on perofessional concerns and related to specific cases

Requirements for joining the ACSW Supervision Roster

To join the roster, you must:

Practice Supervision Readiness Self-Assessment

The following checklist will assist you to assess your personal preparation for providing social work practice supervision: 

  • I have a clear understanding of:
    • The purpose and role of supervision in social work practice
    • My role and responsibilities when providing practice supervision
    • Best practice Standards in Social Work Supervision
    • The skills and knowledge that the supervisory relationship is designed to help the superviesee develop 
  • I enjoy teaching others
  • I am committed to helpping others grow and develop 
  • I have the confidence to provide practice supervision
  • I enjoy discussing theory
  • I have the time to provide supervision including direct observiation, ongoing evaluation and feedback
  • I am prepared to handle a challenging situation should one arise
  • i am able to give direct guidance on social work practice issues
  • I have profesisonal liability insurance

Create your supervisory profile

Your supervisory allows you to introduce yourself, discuss your credentials, licences, acdemic background, supervision experience, and supervisory style. You may create your profile by completing the form below or you can create a narrative profile that tells your story in your own voice. If you choose to use the narrative profile, touch on the categories identified.

Supervisory Profile Form

Supervisor Gateway


Reflective supervision guidlines

The following questions may be helpful to ask during a practice supervision session: 

  1. What do you have for today's session?
  2. Which aspect(s) are you most interested infocusing on?
  3. What do I need to be aware of in order to help you?
  4. What are you most pleased about regarding the way you worked?
  5. What weren't you pleased about(what concerened you)?
  6. What would you like to do (to have done) differently? 
  7. What do you think got in the way of you being able to do that?
  8. I noticed that... (positive or problematic behavior).
  9. What was helpful or not helpful to you/your clients? Why? How? In what ways?
  10. What do you want to do about... ?
  11. How might you apply (in practical/behavioural ways) what we have discussed today? What do you need to do more/less of?
  12. What might you take from today's session (personal reglections/cognitions/new insights)?
  13. How will you go about implementing 'X'?

Distinctions in Supervision

When establishing a supervisor-supervisee relationship for the purposes of providing or receiving practice supervision, it is imporant to be clear on the distinctions between the supervision requirements related to the owrk of a Registered Social Worker, a Clinical Social Worker and advanced level Registered Social Worker with a current practice permit operating in Private Practice.

  • Registered Social Worker
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Private Practice

Practice Supervision Contract

The practice supervision contract helps prepare you for the supervisory experience. The contract is created collaboratively by the supervisor and supervisee, and is designed to orient the supervisee to superivsion as well as to serve as a roadmap for the entire experience. Practice Supervision contracts can highlight and clarify mutual goals and minimize differing adgendas. Osborn and Davis (1996) recommend that supervision contracts include the following: 

  • Role expectations for both supervisor and supervisee
  • Mutually agreeable goals and time frames
  • An established method for resolving communication and other problems in the supervision sessions so that they can be addressed
  • Details of when and how proegress will be monitored and evaluated
  • Established parameters to the supervisory relationship, with attention to boundaries and self-monitoring
{Practice Supervision Contract}

Expectations of the supervisor

The supervisee has a right to expect that a supervisor:
  • Is a master teacher;
  • Is able to guide learning by virtue of superior knowledge and skill;
  • Is able to transmit knowledge that integrates theory and practice activity;
  • Has in-depth knowledge that can be applied to practice with precision;
  • Is able to aply research knowledge and methodology into practice; 
  • Is confident in his or her knowledge, but open to questioning;
  • Is able to accept criticism without becoming defensive;
  • Is fair,honest,candid, but supportive and patient;
  • Can provide cases that are appropriate, but challenging;
  • Is appropriate in appearance, courteus, and clear in communication;
  • Is thorough in providing orientation to the agency or setting;
  • Is prepared for conferences and avoids wasting precious supervision time;
  • Is involved in the agency, the community, and the profession;
  • Is knowledgable about the agency, the community, and the profession;
  • Is knowledgable about the code of ehtics and faithfully adheres to its tenents.

Expectations of a supervisee

It is expected that supervisees will

  • Take that extra step in dealing with difficult cases;
  • Take responsiblity for the job and any organizational matters;
  • Manifest a wallingness to work hard;
  • Freely talk about problem cases and situations;
  • Be honest about how they are feeling;
  • Show respect for their supervisor;
  • Demonstrate basic interpersonal skills;
  • have a genuine interest in learning;
  • Be motivated to learn;
  • Be able to set goals with assistance;
  • Be willing to discuss work and their thoughts about work;
  • Present themsevles as professionals;
  • Be aware of themselves;
  • Have integrity;
  • Have a sense of respect for others;

Scope/focus of practice supervision

When entering a supervisor-supervisee relationship in the context of practice supervision, it is important that both pareties are clear on what each person's role is and what it is not. Hawkins and Shohet identified 10 primary foci of supervision. In practice sueprvision under the ACSW's Superivsion and Mentorship resource the focus is on 1 through 6. Foci 7 to 10 are the responsibility of the supervisee's direct adminstrative supervisor. 

Scope/focus of practice supervision

  1. To provide a regular space for the supervisees to reflect upon the content and process of their work. 
  2. To develop understanding and skills within the work.
  3. To receive information and another presective concerning one's work.
  4. To receive both content and process feedback.
  5. To be validated and supported both as a person and as a worker.
  6. To ensure that as a person and as a worker on is not left to carry unnessarlily difficulties, problems and projections alone.
  7. To have space to explore and express personal distress, re-stimulation, transference or counter transference that may be brought up by the work. 
  8. To plan and utilize their personal professional resources better. 
  9. To be pro-actice rather than re-active.
  10. To ensure quality of work.

Characteristics of a Healthy Supervision Relationship

Characteristics of healthy supervisory relationships include:
  • Bidirectional trust, respect and facilitation;
  • A commitment to enthusiasm and energy for the relationship;
  • An adequate amount of time committed to supervision;
  • Sensitivity to the supervisee's developmental needs;
  • Encouragement of autononomy;
  • Sense of humor;
  • Comfort in dislosing and discussing perceived errors;
  • Clarity of expectations, and regular feedback;
  • A non-defensive supervisory style; and
  • A clear understanding of the rights and responsibilityies of both the sueprvisee and supervisor.

Competencies for healthy and effective supervision

Competencies for healthy and effecticve supervision include:
  • Capacity to enhance superivsees' self-confidence through support, appropriate autonomy, and encouragement;
  • Capacity to model strong working alliuances and develop strong supervisory alliances with the suerpvisee;
  • Ability to dispense feedback, give contructive criticism, and provide formative and summative evaluation;
  • Knowledge of multiple formats of supervision and skill in each format,
  • Adaptability and flexibility;
  • Excellent communication of case conceptuialization, with a strong tehoreitcial stance;
  • Ability to maintain equilibrium and as appropiraiate, a sense of humor, even in the face of crisis;
  • Ability to identify and bring up potential conflict situations or areas of discomfort with supervisee; and
  • Openness to self-evaluation and to evaluation by supervisees and peers. 

Supervisee Bill of Rights

Every clinical social work sueprvisee has the right to:

  • A supervisor who supervises consistently and at regular intervals;
  • Growth-oriented supervision that respects personal privacy;
  • Supervision that is technically sound and theoretically grounded;
  • Be evaluated on criteria that are made clear in advance, and evaluations that are based on actual observation of performance; and
  • A supervisor who is adequately skilled in clinical practice and trained in supervision practice.


Pleae Note: Participation in ACSW's Supervisor Roster is voluntary and the roster is inteded to be a resource for Registered Social Workers willing to provide practice supervision.