Understanding and using cross-professional supervision

DPsych thesis

Holton, G. 2017. Understanding and using cross-professional supervision. DPsych thesis Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute Psychology
TypeDPsych thesis
TitleUnderstanding and using cross-professional supervision
AuthorsHolton, G.

Supervision training and practice has evolved from a uni-professional based approach, where counsellors provided supervision for counsellors, and coaches provided supervision for coaches, to what I term, cross-professional supervision (a term I coined in 2010). While the practice of supervision is commonplace in most clinical and counselling training contexts, a culture that values supervision has not yet developed in many professions, such as adult education, spiritual direction, the police force, health care and
hypnotherapy. Drawing on my own training in counselling supervision, and the learning gained through the design and delivery of professional products, including a supervision text The Soul of Supervision, the following research project traces the leadership role I have taken as a senior practitioner and trainer in setting up and directing the first Master’s programme in supervision in Ireland. A consequence of this development has been what I term an emerging cross-professional supervision practice (CPS) in which
trained supervisors from differing professional and disciplinary backgrounds supervise practitioners from various professions, and the consequential need for a new professional supervision organisation which I founded in 2005.
The practice of CPS has grown and to date there appears to be little research concerning the possible strengths and challenges of this practice for supervisors, supervisees or clients. Using a qualitative phenomenological inquiry, this study explores the experiences of eight purposively chosen co-researchers, supervisors practicing CPS, and in that sense knowledgeable about the field. Using qualitative interviewing techniques, analysing the
data thematically, reflecting the reflexive methodology of supervision, the interviews focused on the co-researchers’ experience of CPS training and practice. Themes were grouped together in related clusters and fell naturally into two related major themes 1) evolving identities and 2) emergent professional knowledge. One of the most striking and consistent themes from the interviews was the impact of transformational learning theory and ways of knowing, foundational to the training and practice, thus core elements for the final product – a draft for a manual on CPS. The study suggests that the uni-professional approach across professions and accreditation requirements within counselling supervision, if left unchallenged, may limit the practice of CPS and the development of the profession of supervision. The study also suggests a need for ongoing training in CPS and further research into this emerging practice.

Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / Metanoia Institute
Publication dates
Print06 Jul 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jul 2017
Accepted01 Jun 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Permalink -


Download files

Accepted author manuscript
  • 79
    total views
  • 73
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 6
    downloads this month

Export as