Supervision vs Support: It’s a tie!

The Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand (OTBNZ) describe supervision as

Structured intentional relationship within which a practitioner reflects critically on her/his work, and receives feedback and guidance from a supervisor, in order to deliver the best possible service to consumers. Professional supervision may incorporate any aspect of a professional role e.g., clinical, managerial, or cultural, and be one to one, one to group, or take the form of peer review.” – OTBNZ, 2015 

In this table exerted from a Chapter in Clinical Supervision in Aotearoa/ New Zealand A Health Perspective (pp. 27) it illustrates the formalities of supervision:

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Supervision is necessary for a new graduate OT’s as we are committed to developing patients/clients we must be committed to developing ourselves. Supervision provides confidentiality, a structured form of achieving learning goals, continual monitoring of the meeting of competencies and one on one sessions that focuses on OT as a profession and the provision of optimum service to clients. Supervision demonstrates the OT’s ability to commit to their profession (Davys, 2007)

Here is the Te Pou website for more information on supervision:

What supervision does not provide is a casual informal environment consisting of honest opinions (both clinically informed and personal) with regards to lived experiences of just being an occupational therapist as well as information around intricately researched interest topics by the individuals involved. Peer support offers the ability to add to the therapists body of knowledge under no time or goal constraints and potentially from the comfort of your own home if via social media.

Peer support also provides a group setting of which Finlay,1993 discusses as enabling members to bond together due to their groups identity and enhance therapeutic communication and occupational function (Finlay, 1993) (Duncan, 2011). This is opposed to one on one sessions had in supervision.

Do new graduate OT’s need access to more informal support to assist with moulding their professional identity?


Davys, A. (2007). Active participation in supervision: a supervisee’s guide. In D. Wepa (Ed.) Clinical Supervision in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Auckland: Pearson.

Duncan, E., A. (2011). (Ed.). Foundations for practice in occupational therapy. (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Finlay, L. (1993). Groupwork in occupational therapy. Therapy in practice (38). Canada: US.


4 thoughts on “Supervision vs Support: It’s a tie!

  1. Good to know the difference between peer support and supervision nice clear explanation; the Aranui supervision guide is also a good resource for supervision on the te pou website

    • Thank you Rebekah! I have added the Tepou website to this post as it does contain a lot of really useful information with regards to the definition of supervision.

    • Thank you Judith. Are you a new graduate OT this year? Or next year? Or are you a supervisor for a new graduate OT? Growth by all means plays an important role in the occupational transition from student to therapist. Thank you for your comment.

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