Article Two

Supervision – A Brief Chronology

First stage:

  • Late 19th century; introduced as a supportive and reflective space for social workers in USA
  • 1920’s; Max Eitingon thought to be the first to make supervision a formal requirement for those in psychoanalytic training

Second stage:

  • 1950’s; Further supervision emerged as other counselling and psychotherapy orientations evolved

Third stage:

  • 1970’s; start to make a bid for being a more educational process than a counselling one
  • Focus from the person doing the work to the work itself
  • Supervision becomes centred on practice, the actual work done with a view to using that work to improve future work

Fourth stage:

  • During first decade of 21st century, supervision becomes a profession in its own right with supervisors trained in coaching, individual and group supervision and organisational consultancy
  • In 2000 Hawkins & Shohet publish the seminal ‘Supervision in the Helping Professions, An Individual, Group and Organizational Approach (Supervision in Context)’
  • Supervision becomes embedded in good practice for coaches and is a professional requirement of most of the accrediting coaching professional bodies

Fifth stage:

  • Supervision or super-vision is increasingly being recognised as a distinctive enough discipline to be a relationship of great value to the much wider audience of organisational professionals and practitioners operating in all contexts of people development e.g. leadership supervision.

Patti Stevens, May 2020
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