Reflecting Together to Support Our Workforce

May 2018

Reflective Supervision or Reflective Consultation (RSC*) are a critical aspect of how home visiting programs provide support to staff hold space to reflect and discuss about the experiences working with families. Read more Many of the home visiting models implemented in Region X require reflective supervision to staff and is important for many reasons:

Reflective practice helps home visitors and supervisors:

  • Become self-aware and monitor your reactions
  • Identify the connections among your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and disentangle them from your interpretations of others
  • Challenge your own assumptions
  • Recognize what is working well and what is not
  • Enhance your practice

We know there is a wide range of perspective, experiences, and skills in providing or receiving reflective supervision. One way we know this is from review of the RISE Home Visiting Evaluation, where at the beginning of the evaluation only 52% of supervisors in WA reported having received training and at the end 75% reported receiving training. Additionally, we know that training alone (in most cases) is insufficient for people mastery with RSC.

Here is a quote from a participant during first year of RSC:

My reflective supervision time has made it possible for me to go into these conversations with my families more prepared and to have open conversations with the families. The response from both families was for them to open up to me and share their concerns and want/need for help.

Because this is such an important component of home visiting, Region X has been and continues to make systemic investments in building our RSC capacity throughout the region, largely attributed to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program funding support. With these investments, there are some upcoming opportunities that we would like you to consider participating in, details as follows:

Reflective Supervision Guidelines and Summit:

Through the MIECHV Innovation Grant, four states across our region (AK, ID, OR, WA) have been working with the Infant Mental Health Associations across the region to draft Reflective Supervision/Consultation guidelines to support the field of home visiting. Because each home visiting model and many funding streams (including HVSA contracts) require reflective supervision to happen, but there is not a common set of guidelines for policy makers or programs to look to – these guidelines will provide a framework and shared language for RSC in the region. To gather insights and feedback on the guidelines in development and how it might be implemented, the regional Infant Mental Health Associations in partnership with the States will be hosting a Reflective Supervision Summit on May 8th in SeaTac for a small number of stakeholders to engage in rich dialogue on RSC.

These combined efforts and investments are centered on supporting home visiting professionals to engage and stay in the field and hope that you consider how these fit for your program.

*RSC = For this article, Reflective Supervision is when a supervisor within an organizational structure provides reflective supervision to staff and Reflective Consultation is when a consultant outside of an organization structure provides reflective supervision to staff.