Why Clinical Supervision Works for Us

Here at Fulfilling Lives South East we have provided clinical supervision for our client-facing workers for many years. Clinical Supervision provides three functions: it supports quality and ethics of the work, it develops knowledge and skills, and it supports the wellbeing of the people who take part in it.

Conversations with specialist workers had indicated that they found clinical supervision helpful, but we wanted to gather more evidence. We asked external researcher Juliette Hough talk to the workers, area leads and the clinical supervisor themselves to find out more about how receiving clinical supervision had impacted the working practices. What we found were clear benefits for workers, clients and the wider project.


  • Cases were kept open and better supported as workers were equipped with new models, ideas and ways of approaching situations they previous felt stuck on
  • It helped workers to advocate for support from other services, and to increase other services’ understanding of people’s needs and behaviours.


  • Helped to protect staff from burnout and compassion fatigue. Several workers described periods of high emotional or psychological pressure that the clinical supervision supported them with
  • Created space for reflection and development Workers had the space to integrate new models and ways of thinking, building on their professional skills for this and future roles


  • Reduced sickness absence and staff turnover. Workerssaid that without clinical supervision, they would have required more sickness absence, or would not have been to continue in the role. Providing clinical supervision costs us £563 per worker per year. Average costs of recruitment and selection in the third sector is £1,612 per role.
  • Safety and risk management Additional specialist support to navigate complex risk and safeguarding situations when they arise.

For clinical supervision to work well, we found that it should be provided one-to-one. This is to make sure the space feels safe and dedicated to the individual worker and their cases. Sessions should also be a part of a wider offer of support and training for workers, and is linked to support from managers and peers, organisational culture, self-care.

Clinical supervision was thought to be particularly important in organisations like ours which provide intensive support to people experiencing multiple disadvantage. It can be particularly important for workers working mostly alone, with limited peer support; and with personal experiences of trauma, multiple disadvantage or related issues.

You can read the full Clinical Supervision report here: Full Report

Author: Kerry Dowding

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