Ethical Issues in Educational Supervision

Canceling next week’s supervision meeting. I simply don’t have anything to discuss. Your check is in the mail. Look forward to you signing off on my clinical hours.”

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I reread the emailed, stunned that this individual thought they could pay me for services that I did not provide. I was also baffled that as a social worker in training this individual had NOTHING to discuss. I reflected back to my own clinical journey of obtaining 4,000 hours. I always had something to discuss during those 130 hours of clinical supervision. For starters, clients, staffing issues, case notes, ethics articles in my field, employment opportunities, continuing education seminars and workshops, outreach, advocacy, social policies, social and political action, confidentially in various practice situations (for instance couples and family therapy, working with minors and duty to warn), terms like privileged communication versus confidentiality- that’s just to name a few.

Clinical supervision helped me finesse my agenda game and hone in on my specialty of working with mentally ill young adults.

I sent the following email to this individual “Thank you for the advance cancelation notice. I cannot accept your payment. I have not provided you with two hours of bi-weekly supervision. I took an oath as a clinical social worker. I am sure as a social worker working toward your own licensure you are familiar with the six core values of the profession: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. I would be happy to discuss the principals behind these values during our next supervision session. In saying this, I am sure you understand why I can’t accept your payment. Are you aware you are able to obtain 70 hours of long distance supervision under _? Please review this link and let me know what you decide. I would be happy you support you in going this route as I know you do travel a distance” REAL LIFE ADVICE social workers who provide services via electronic media ( such as computer, telephone, podcast , television , email , face time , webinar ) should inform recipients of the limitations and risk associated with such services.

Would you have replied differently? Would you have accepted this individual’s payment? I look forward to your reply. I have also decided I will dig in my academic bin and share my own journey of clinical supervision agendas with you. You will get to see how green I really was, but as I like to say “Nobody is born an expert” and one of the purposes of this blog is to share how I got here.

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8 Responses to Ethical Issues in Educational Supervision

  1. Good piece. No, given the facts you present I wouldn’t have accepted payment. I have and continue to learn that we must live our lives be it our professional or personal in such ways that reflect our core values. Having been where you are there is always a line we must walk otherwise we lose site of our purpose in helping others grow as we ourselves grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jeffw5382 says:

    Thank you. You have pointed out what I think is an evolution in the Ideas young people have about doing the work and spending the time required to achieve their objectives. There may be too, a misunderstanding about the role of social work and the special kind of heart and integrity it requires. Obviously, you have developed or have been blessed with the attributes required to perform and instruct in this field.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am just as shocked as you are! This demands an attitude adjustment and a strong warning on the part of a supervisor. When I was running a school, we always had student interns supervised by some of the staff, and attendance at those sessions was taken very strictly. Ditto for hours served, I should add.

    Liked by 1 person

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