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The Art of Supervisory Practice

Foundational unit for postgraduate students
Double subject (48 points)


This unit provides a foundational framework for action, reflection, and learning in the practice of supervision.  It seeks to equip practitioners to: work as supervisors in a variety of pastoral and spiritual care settings; work within individual, peer and group processes; develop further the capacity to reflect upon their own practice; develop a spirituality of supervision.
The theory and practice of supervision will be explored through group work and theoretical input. Group work will offer the opportunity to practice supervision and receive constructive feedback.  Theoretical input will address: spiritual reflection within a preferred religious tradition; the principles and dynamics of supervision; approaches to individual, peer and group supervision; burnout, self-care and assessment; key psychological aspects such projection, parallel process, transference and counter-transference, power; confidentiality and ethics in supervision.

Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Define (from current literature and research) and illustrate (from practice) the contractual, relational and collaborative processes of supervision of spiritual care practitioners.
  2. Describe and illustrate the ethical and professional practice of supervision in a variety of settings of pastoral and spiritual care.
  3. Outline, evaluate and engage contemporary approaches to individual, peer and group supervision, and illustrate their use in multidisciplinary spiritual care settings.
  4. Integrate a contemplative stance to supervision that engages adult learning principles, referral options, parallel processes, transference and counter-transference.
  5. Respond creatively to peer and lecturer feedback by critically assessing personal strengths and areas for development and growth in the provision of individual, peer and group supervision.
  6. Develop a theoretical and practice-based rationale for spiritual reflection using sacred texts, culture, and experience within a preferred religious tradition


  1. Experience of supervision as a supervisee.
  2. Admission by interview with admission panel.

Mode of Teaching: Lecture, small group work, practice and review.

Teaching method:

  • Supervised group practice of supervision using case studies and verbatim reports brought by the participants.
  • Theory sessions facilitated by faculty.

Faculty: Marcel Koper; Joan Wright-Howie

Offered: Part A second semester 2017 and Part B first semester 2018 – see timetable for details.


Part A
Essay (3000 words) 25%
Review and learning critique (3000 words) (may be live interviews, videos, verbatims, case studies, role-plays, and reflection on critical incidents) 25%

Part B
Reflective essay (3000 words) 25%
Review and learning critique (3000 words) (may be live interviews, videos, verbatims, case studies, role-plays, and reflection on critical incidents) 25%


Carroll, Michael & Gilbert, Maria. On being a supervisee: Creating learning partnerships. (2nd ed.). London: Vukani, 2011.
Clutterbuck, David, Whitaker, Carol & Lucas, Michelle. Coaching Supervision: A Practical Guide for Supervisees.  New Yourk: Routledge, 2016.
Cooper-White, Pamela. Shared Wisdom: Use of Self in Pastoral Care and Counselling. Minneapolis: Augsberg Fortress, 2004.
Corey, Gerald, Corey, Mary, & Callanan, Paul. Issues and Ethics in Helping Professions. California: Brookes-Cole, 2007.
Gardner, Fiona. Critical Spirituality: A Holistic Approach to Contemporary Practice. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate. 2011.
Garrido, Ann.  Supervising a Ministry Student. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press. 2008.
Hawkins, Peter & Shohet, Robin. Supervision in the Helping Professions. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press. 4th ed. 2010.
Kincaid, William. Finding Voice: How Theological Field Education Shapes Pastoral Identity. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 2012.
Leach, Jane & Paterson Michael.  Pastoral Supervision: A Handbook. London: SCM Press, 2010.
McMahon, Mary and Patton, Wendy. Supervision in the Helping Professions: A Practical Approach. French’s Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia, 2002.
McAlpin, Kathleen. Ministry that Transforms: A Contemplative Process of Theological Reflection. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2009.
Paver, John. Theological Reflection and Education for Ministry. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
Pohly, Kenneth. Transforming the Rough Places: The Ministry of Supervision, 2nd edn. Franklin, Tennessee: Providence House Publishers, 2001.
Proctor, Brigid, Group supervision: A guide to creative practice, 2nd edn, Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 2008.
Shohet, Robin. Supervision as Transformation: A Passion for learning, London: Jessica Kingsley, 2011.
Steere, David. The Supervision of Pastoral Care, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002.
Ward, Frances. Lifelong learning: Theological education and supervision. London: SCM, 2005.