Asking Questions in Supervision

  • Inger UllebergEmail author
  • Per Jensen
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


A central element in supervision is asking the supervisee questions. Questions can be asked both by the supervisor and the other participants in the group. Questions used to be considered a tool to collect relevant information, while in newer years questions are also understood as powerful interventions or as invitations. In this chapter, we take a closer look at different questions a supervisor can ask.

First, we will take a look at meta-questions, which invite to a conversation about conversation. Then we will take a closer look at four different kinds of questions which are asked about the issue, the situation or the story being told, and will keep a particular focus on with which motives the questions are asked, and place the questions in four overarching categories: to map out the situation, to influence the supervisee’s understanding, to complicate the supervisee’s understanding, to explore what works and to find solutions.

The sources we get the questions from are firstly from the Canadian family therapist Karl Tomm, the second source is the Norwegian professor Tom Andersen, who developed the reflective ream. The third source is questions developed within a solution-focused approach, where we in particular use Norwegian and Swedish authors, and the fourth source we draw questions from is the narrative tradition in general, and a Danish book about consultancy work in particular.


Questions Context Intersubjectivity Linear questions Circular questions Solution-focused questions Strategic questions Reflexive questions Stories Externalizing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and International Studies, Department of Primary and Secondary Teacher EducationOslo and Akershus University College of Applied SciencesOsloNorway
  2. 2.Family Therapy Section, Faculty of Social StudiesVID Specialized UniversityOsloNorway

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