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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Critical supervision

I would like to know how, as a supervisee, you can handle the pressure from your supervisor during a supervision session, when he or she oppresses you in developmental areas rather than highlighting any strengths observed.


Hi Kim,

This is an interesting question. I suggest that you take a moment to ask yourself what is going on in the dynamic between you both. If I am hearing you correctly, the supervisor has a style that you consider to be oppressive and you perceive that s/he is focusing on your weaknesses rather than balancing their feedback by also highlighting your strengths. I suggest that the questions you should ask yourself are:

1) Is s/he really focusing on my weaknesses or am I only hearing the criticism? If the initial observation is correct, then why haven't I raised it by naming my own process/perception in the supervision? If it is not correct, then what are the vulnerabilities that are leading me to only hear the criticism?

2) If I feel under pressure in supervision, could I name that with the session? (Supervision should be challenging but also supportive.)

3) If I would like to hear more of my strengths being highlighted, why don't I just ask?

In summary, it sounds like your needs are not being met with this supervisor, but you may have to take some responsibility if you have not brought the issues up for discussion in the session.

If you have raised the issues and have taken full responsibility for you part in the dynamic, and nothing has changed, then perhaps it s time for a new supervisor!

Best of luck with it.

John Byrne


Hi Kim,

Sounds like a horrible situation. Supervision is supposed to be supportive and shared. Would it be possible to develop a supervision contract with the headings you need? Or at least an agenda? I imagine the place where you work has a supervision policy or procedure?

Early on in your career you need to be able to ask your supervisor for what you need, or at least say you can take constructive criticism on board and ask for feedback on what you have done well. The other is to ask if you can bring a case study to supervision for discussion. You could choose one that is a bit tricky but where you have managed some positive outcomes.

You should not be feeling this sort of pressure. Is there someone else you can talk to? Are others feeling the same way? At the end of the day you need to gather the courage and tell your supervisor how you are feeling coming into and going away from supervision. Is it possible to raise the problem with another manager?

Good luck and take care
Glenys Bristow

Try to be as calm as possible in all your contact sessions with him/her while slowly making your points whenever she attacks you, and make her realize the difference between personal vendetta vs work development areas.

Peter Moleka

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