When the Supervision Process Falters and Breaks Down: Pathways to Repair

  • Gudmund FossliEmail author
  • Hans Christian Michaelsen
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


Literature focusing on the shortcomings and failures in supervision seems to be scarce. We came to question possible reasons for this, resulting in this chapter. It is an attempt to shed light upon some contexts and events that may cause the supervision process to falter and even break down. The authors will draw from their own personal experiences as supervisors. The inner dialogues of the supervisors are shared and discussed, revealing reactions of uncertainty, confusion, disappointment, self-blame, feelings of worthlessness and even hostility, to mention some. A discussion will follow the inner dialogues with a closing reflection.Eleven phenomena called ”Risk factors” are presented. Five of these examples are exposed in this extensive way, while the remaining six are discussed more generally. In the last section we will discuss some pathways to repair and healing, looking at how breakdowns may be avoided or be transformed into learning experiences for growth.


Supervision of supervision Multiple voices Systemic supervision Supervisory position Person of the supervisor Group process 


  1. Bang, S. (2007). Rørt, rammet og rystet, faglig vekst gjennom veiledning. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademiske forlag.Google Scholar
  2. Burck, C., & Daniel, G. (2010). Mirrors and reflections: Process of systemic supervision. London: Karnac.Google Scholar
  3. Dahl, I. (2013). Humor som terapeutisk praksis. Master’s thesis, Diakonhjemmet Høgskole, Oslo, Norway.Google Scholar
  4. Goldsmith, J. (2014). Why is alliance in psychotherapy crucial? Lecture: Kildehuset Modum Bad, Viksersund, Norway.Google Scholar
  5. Haugsgjerd, S. (2005). Kjærlighetens kraftlinjer. Oslo: Pax Forlag.Google Scholar
  6. Heap, K. (1988). Personal communication.Google Scholar
  7. Honneth, A. (2008). Kamp om anerkjennelse: om de sosiale konfliktenes moralske grammatikk. Oslo: Pax Forlag.Google Scholar
  8. Maturana, H. R., & Varela, F. J. (1987). The tree of knowledge. Boston: New Science Library.Google Scholar
  9. Nissen-Lie, H. (2012). Hva kjennetegner gode og mindre gode psykoterapeuter? “Mellanrummet” nordisk tidskrift för barn- och ungdomspsykoterapi. Nordic Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. Oslo no. 26, 2012.Google Scholar
  10. Øverland, S. (2014). Tidsskrift for Norsk psykologforening. Terapi er kjærlighet (Therapy Is Love), 51(5), 406–407.Google Scholar
  11. Rønnestad, M. H., & Reichelt, S. (2011). Psykoterapiveiledning. Oslo: Tano Aschehoug.Google Scholar
  12. Teslo, A. (2016). Mangfold i faglig veiledning for helse- og sosialarbeidere. Oslo: Oslo Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  13. Thrana, H. M. (2013). Kjærlighet: en kjernekompetanse i profesjonelt barnevernsarbeid? Tidsskriftet Norges Barnevern, 90(1), 4–17.Google Scholar
  14. Thrana, H. M. (2016). Kjærlighetens inntreden i barnevernet - en utfordring for den profesjonelle relasjon? Tidsskriftet Norges barnevern 02/2016. Volum 93.Google Scholar
  15. Tilden, T. (2015). Personal communication.Google Scholar
  16. Wampold, B. (2014). Personal communication.Google Scholar
  17. Wampold, B., & Imel, Z. E. (2015). The great psychotherapy debate. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  18. Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J., Fisch, R., & Erickson, M. D. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  19. White, M., & Epston, D. (1992). Experience, contradiction, narrative and imagination: Selected papers & 1989-1991. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family Therapy Section, Faculty of Social StudiesVID Specialized UniversityOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations