Journal article


The growth of professional supervision in social work has been accompanied by complex attempts to theorise key elements of supervisory practice and highlight the need to further examine what constitutes supervisory support in current regulatory environments. Changes in human service organisations resulting from new public management generate a need to theorise broader patterns of support available to human service workers. This article draws on an electronic, mixed-method self-reporting study of advice and support-seeking behaviours of 193 human service professionals in 3 South Australian organisations. The findings indicate the fluidity of current professional supervision practice, with workers seeking professional wisdom, identifying practice direction, and debriefing with a range of colleagues within and outside their organisation. Accordingly, the article confirms that supervisors should no longer be thought of as the sole providers of professional advice and support for human service workers and conceptualises the workers as active agents shaping their own learning.

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