The Washington Association for Infant Mental Health

Reflective Supervision/Consultation (RSC): Definition

How RSC Differs from Administrative and Clinical Supervision >

Reflective Supervision/Consultation (RSC) is distinct from administrative and/or clinical supervision due to the shared exploration of the parallel process. That is, attention to all of the relationships is important, including the ones between practitioner and supervisor, between practitioner and parent, and between parent and child. It is important to understand how each of those relationships affects the others. Also, of note, RSC attends to the emotional content of the work and how reactions to the content affect the work. Finally, there is often greater emphasis on the supervisor’s ability to listen and wait, allowing the supervisee to discover solutions, concepts and perceptions on his/her own without interruption from the supervisor.

Primary characteristics of reflective supervision include:

  • Trusting, emotionally-present relationship between supervisor and practitioner
  • Consistent and predictable meetings and times
  • Questions that encourage details about the infant, parent, and emerging relationship
  • Teaching and guidance related to IECMH competencies
  • Nurturance and support of practitioner’s skills
  • Integration of emotion and reason
  • Fostering the reflective process within the practitioner
  • Exploration of the parallel process, allowing time for personal reflection
  • Attending to how reactions to the content affect the process/work
  • Self-discovery of knowledge within practitioner
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