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Positive Supervision and Intervision


Publisher: Hofgreve UItgevers, Amsterdam 2012, 255 pages, ISBN 978-90-79729-68-5.

Many readers will remember Fredrike Bannink from her informative keynote address on Solution-Focused Mediation at the 11th National Mediation Conference in Sydney, 8-10 September 2012.

Bannink’s latest publication ’Positive supervision and intervision’ is based on the solution focused paradigm for individual and group supervision sessions. Accordingly, learning is about our success stories as well as other practitioners’ success stories and much less about what did not work or went wrong which may be the traditional experience when a problem solving paradigm is used. Table 1 on page 24 illustrates the clear differences between positive supervisory questions in contrast to more traditional questions that a supervisor may ask their supervisees.

The role of the supervisor therefor is that of someone who builds on what went well, followed by an exploration of how this was achieved and how the practitioner can further develop their expertise. Supervisees are acknowledged as “co-experts” and the supervisor responds only when invited to provide suggestions or advice. Practitioners are encouraged to develop their own enthusiasm for their goals in their work. In their reflection they acknowledge their existing competencies together with an identification of how they can expand these so as to build on their strengths both professionally and personally.

Bannink describes in Part 1 a range of theories that underpin positive supervision in practice. Inspiring information is provided on how to make supervision both exciting and rewarding for the supervisory relationship and to make the process more worthwhile for the supervisee and the supervisor alike.

The process for positive supervision and intervision begins with building rapport so the relationship is fostered in a positive tone from the beginning based on the following four pillars or steps which may not always be used in sequence:

  1. Formulation of the goal
  2. Establishing competencies
  3. Exploration  of how to further develop expertise and resources to achieve these
  4. Reflection on the work and feedback on achievements

The process can continue with new goals or loop back. See Diagram 1 page 37, Appendix 1 and 2 for more details.

The practical knowledge and practice aspects, described in Part 11, are discussed in a range of case studies, reflective exercises, list of questions and answers as well as observations narrated by several practitioners highlighting their beneficial experiences of positive supervision. See Chapter 11 for testimonies.

As a result of positive supervision and intervision practitioners come away with hope, optimism, positive feelings, having gained a sense of satisfaction and confidence in their accomplishments. Evaluation of the positive success of supervision is seen as important so that feedback to the supervisor is also paramount.

This clearly written and attractively published book consists of 12 chapters, a literature list, and 8 appendices is not only for mediators and therapists, but also highly recommended for anyone being a supervisee or supervisor in any corporate environment, business, education, sport, health, welfare, community service, government and non-government setting.

Positiveness is catching!

The review of Bannink’s text is translated from Dutch into English by Mieke Brandon, registered FDRP, accredited under NMS, trainer, coach, assessor, supervisor and author. Every effort is made to capture the essence of the uniqueness of this book in the hope that it will soon be officially translated into other languages so many more readers’ en practitioners can live, learn and benefit personally and professionally from the valuable contents.


Fredrike P. Bannink

  Drs. F.P. Bannink MDR Master of Dispute Resolution (University of Amsterdam) Mediator for the Amsterdam District Court. Past Chair of the Foundation for Professional Neighbour Mediation Amsterdam Clinical psychologist (University of Amsterdam) Graduate study programme lecturer and in-company trainer in solution focused brief therapy and positive psychology Trainer in… MORE >

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