The importance of supervision for social and health workers

Specifically, it must be said that the subjectivity of the operator is “questioned”, rather than at stake, in the sense that it is not only the cause of his being in the position of operator, but also the ” cause “of the very nature of the relationship he occasionally establishes with the other (user or patient).

What is supervision?

Supervision is a tool to rework and restructure the methods of communication and organization of the work context, through listening and welcoming the health and social worker, to prevent burnout (The risk of burnout in health workers and social, by Franco De Felice, Barbara Cioccolanti, Goliàrdic Editions, Community Psychology, 1999) and to improve the quality of services and the well-being of workers.

In the field of personal services, it is increasingly common to request an intervention that is able to serve not the users or customers of the service but the operators who perform their professional functions.

The attention to the personnel of the services of the psychosocial, socio-educational, training, rehabilitation and socio-sanitary sectors is becoming more and more a necessity, a necessity, a request for intervention.

From a historical phase in which the supervision of the operational teams was mostly conceived as an emergency intervention, to be activated when the service was experiencing a critical phase, it has passed to a time when the attention to the operators and working groups, through The intervention of supervision, assumes the character of normal and physiological instrument of accompaniment and growth of the service (Giorgio Cavicchioli, Narrating the groups. Clinical and social perspectives. Year II, Vol. I, March of 2007, Supervision in personal services. the relationship that interests you).

SUPERVISION AS A TOOL (S., Premoli, The subject in the making, Cortina Bookstore, Milan 1966)

Without supervision, the operator runs the risk of encountering a mental overload that can lead to a situation of wear and tear, called “burn out”, which will negatively affect his ability to properly respond to the question posed by the user. .

A sine qua non condition of supervision is the openness of the operator to a request for assistance from a difficult situation.

When opening a request for help, the operator has the opportunity to enter the monitoring relationship by occupying the place occupied by his user / patient in the relationship with him.

Supervision refers to the operator-user relationship, a relationship that the operator agrees to bring to supervision, along with the so-called rejection relationship. By “waste” we mean everything that, at the end of an exchange, poses to the operator a problem of “sense” in the direction of a fault or, in any case, a perplexity.

The rejections are taken to supervision to be “worked” in the direction of a search for meaning that takes into account not only the psychic economy of the operator but also of the user involved at that time in the relationship with him. (S., Finzi, Measurement, Casting, and Original in the Analysis of a Case of Child Psychosis “, in” Il piccolo Hans “n.53, 1984, Daedalus, Bari).


The actors in the contract must always be at least three: the institution, the operators and the supervisor;

There must be a clarification of the issue and the objectives;

Monitoring should be enclosed, separate, and protected from external interference at a predetermined weekly or fortnightly frequency;


Supervision is fully recognized as a “work practice” as it involves developing something that is part of a professional work relationship. For this reason it is believed that supervision should be scheduled within working hours and does not require an economic or temporary cost to the operator.

Through group supervision, collaborative processes are activated in an experiential and pragmatic way, to help operators in emotional, professional, planning, relational difficulties, mutual recognition and trust, awareness and acceptance of differences and professional skills, detection of training needs, group sharing. work strategies, stimulation of a work climate based on: collaboration, solidarity, participation, autonomy, listening and creativity, understood as the search for new solutions.

Author of the article: Dra. Letizia Ciabattoni


The risk of burnout in health and social workers, by Franco De Felice, Barbara Cioccolanti, Goliàrdiques Editions, Community Psychology, 1999;

Supervision as a working tool, article on the nature and role of supervision in the practice of psychosocial and educational operators, published in the journal: SOCIAL AND HEALTHY PERSPECTIVES, n. 14, 1993, by Sergio Premoli;

Di Mattei V., Prunas A., Sarno L. (2004). Burnout in mental health workers: what interventions? Health Psychology, II;

Giorgio Cavicchioli, Narrating the groups. Clinical and social perspectives. Year II, Vol I, March 2007, Supervision in personal services. Take care of the relationship you care about;

Cavicchioli G., Bianchera L., (2005) Supervision and consulting in the cooperative social organization. Learning and changing paths in work groups. Rome, Armando Editore; Braidi G.,

Cavicchioli G., (2006) Know and lead working groups. Experience in supervision and intervention in Personal Services, Milan, Franco Angeli;

Lama, Antonella, Caring for caregivers: psychodynamic groups for healthcare professionals, 2009, Franco Angeli; Centrale&id=110

Supervisione e Coaching per il Personale Socioeducativo

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