A Rapid Review of Reflective Supervision in Social Work

Jermaine Ravalier, Paula Anna Wegrzynek, Annabelle Mitchell, John McGowan, Paula Mc Fadden, Caroline Bald

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Abstract

Reflective supervision (RS) is a crucial component of social work practice but little is known about how RS works within the UK context and what the outcomes of RS are for social workers and their service users. A rapid literature review comprised searching four databases for academic and grey literature on the topic of social work RS. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and the University College London’s literature assessment method were employed in an expedited quality appraisal for all included papers. Twenty-seven papers were included. Findings suggest that a supportive, available manager or a peer-group enables reflective practice. Regularity of supervisory sessions and acknowledgement of a social worker’s autonomy are seen as enablers of reflexivity. In contrast, task-oriented approach that is overly focused on accountability and hindered by the sparsity of resources proves problematic for both social workers and service users. Whilst theoretical papers were available, RS was not defined in a uniform fashion and there was limited evidence pertaining to supervisory practice. More research focusing on what works and what improvements are needed in RS, including adopting a participatory approach would help to bridge this gap and further inform policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Early online date8 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 8 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding
There was no funding for this project.

Keywords

  • rapid review
  • reflective practice
  • reflective supervision
  • social work

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