Supervision III: Supervision Specific to Social Work

Course materials are available as articles, and audio with transcripts.

This course has broad applicability: its utility extends to supervisors of social workers across direct practice disciplines, such as mental health, medical, aging and independence, child and family, housing and food security, immigration and refugee, etc. It is intended as continuing education for all types of social work supervisors: supervisors of social workers pursuing clinical licensure, supervisors within the professional practice setting, and field supervisors of undergraduate and graduate social work interns.

The foundational course includes several articles and an audiotaped interview (transcript provided). It provides an overview of the generalist perspective on supervision of the social worker, including legal and ethical standards which are the backbone of the profession, as well as a survey of logistical and practical tools. This foundation is augmented with advanced supervisory considerations, such as emotional attunement of the supervisor to the supervisee, organization and systemic constraints impacting supervision, supervisory intent versus evidenced supervisory practice, training and support of the social work supervisor; and ethical, logistical, and practice implications of the growing trend toward external supervision. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach social work supervisors to

  • Review foundational values and standards of social work practice and supervision
  • Distinguish management of the social worker from supervision of the social worker
  • Describe the growing trend toward external supervision, and its ethical, logistical, and practice implications


  • Introduction to Social Work Supervision
  • Social Work Supervision
    1. Generalist Perspective of Social Work Practice
    2. Foundational Concepts in Supervision of the Social Worker
  • Ethical Considerations in Social Work Supervision
    1. Core Values and Ethical Standards
    2. Ethical Principles
    3. Emotions and Social Work Practice and Supervision
  • Logistics of Social Work Supervision
    1. Management Versus Supervision
    2. External Supervision