Restorative Supervision

What is restorative supervision?

Restorative supervision contains elements of psychological support including listening, supporting and challenging the supervisee to improve their capacity to cope, especially in managing difficult and stressful situations (Proctor, 1988).

This model of restorative supervision incorporates the theories of the Solihull Approach, which has its own body of evidence around reducing anxiety for professionals and parents alike. The approach uses ‘containment’ that describes the method of processing anxiety and emotions so that the ability to think is restored in the person.  Also, ‘reciprocity’ which focuses the professional’s attention on the quality of the interaction and relationship both between themselves and the families they care for as well as the individual members of the family. The third element, of behaviour management, is used in the context of boundary setting, contracting and time management both within and out of the supervision sessions.

Restorative clinical supervision has been evaluated and found to be a helpful in a range of ways, such as reducing stress and absence from work which can lead to an improvement in the services provided .

Restorative supervision can provide you with:

  • Protected time to reflect on your physical and emotional health

  • A safe and confidential space to explore the impact of work pressures

  • An opportunity to discuss the challenges faced and new ways of working

  • Time out to reflect on your work/life balance

  • A chance to explore feelings, concerns or worries

  • Someone to challenge your ideas and ways of thinking to help improve outcomes

  • Way to help reduce stress levels

  • Opportunity to encourage and enhance good working relationships both within the team and with families, children and young people

  • Clearer way of thinking, improvements to your general well being and the service you provide

Restorative supervision is helpful in addressing barriers to productivity and improving emotional well being at work. It has also been reported to help reduce sickness and absence and improve management and communication skills.

As Senior Clinical Supervisor and founder member with the South Warwickshire NHS Restorative Clinical Supervision team, Jill took a lead on developing the roll out and delivery of the programme to health visitors in NHS Trusts across the country.

Positive Steps UK has introduced restorative supervision across a range of service including Children’s Centres and schools that have reported it to be very beneficial to performance within teams and for individuals, including a marked reduction in staff absences.

The service offers supervision to individuals or groups, alternatively staff can be trained to cascade restorative supervision to their colleagues. The cascade programme includes:

  • A training session

  • Six one hour, one to one sessions of restorative supervision.

  • Facilitated group supervision sessions.

  • An implementation and feedback meeting.

  • Pre and post evaluation measures.

  • Evaluation of the supervision and written report.

Comments from supervisees include:

  • “It has really made me reflect on my work life balance and encouraged me to take steps to reduce my stress level” (Acting Professional Lead, Health Visiting)
  • “It has helped me to organise and prioritise my time and consider others views”                         (Infant School Teacher)
  • “The supervision was excellent and so nice to have sometime for ones self” (Health Visitor)
  • “I am more resilient and it helped me to get things into perspective” (Primary school teacher)
  • “It has helped me to organise my time & plan ahead more” (Health Visitor)
  • “I feel a weight has been lifted and feel more in control” (Children’s Centre Coordinator)
  • “It is great to have an open space in which to be honest and consider feelings” (Safety Officer)
  • “Restorative supervision has provided me with a safe space to explore a range of issues that have impacted on my work and allowed me to think more clearly and make positive changes” (Community Practice Educator)
  • “I feel better equipped to deal with life and take responsibility to make changes in my work and for myself” (Deputy Head Teacher)
The Solihull Approach.