Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Supervision should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the various ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. This unit introduces students to the principles and practice of individual supervision in a variety of disciplines — that is, supervision conducted on a one-on-one basis between a supervisor and a supervisee. The student supervisor will learn how to supervise candidates preparing for or practising in a variety of professional roles, including: ministry, spiritual direction, pastoral care, coaching, or counselling. The unit focuses specifically on supervision within the Ignatian tradition and assumes a basic knowledge of its fundamental principles. Students will learn about supervision as a process designed to ensure appropriate standards of professionalism. The aim of the unit is to focus on the development of skills, attitudes, approaches and knowledge, and to foster in practitioners sustained growth in the competencies for individual supervision. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain the parameters of individual supervision, including issues of confidentiality, ethics, quality control and legal concerns (GA1, GA3); 

LO2 - Analyse current models of individual supervision (GA4); 

LO3 - Demonstrate an understanding of the contemplative stance to supervision and its relationship to Ignatian Spirituality (GA4); 

LO4 - Link basic principles of relational psychodynamics to individual supervision (GA1); 

LO5 - Evaluate their own strengths and areas for future growth in the provision of supervision in the light of feedback from lecturers and fellow students (GA4). 

Graduate attributes

GA1 Demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 Think critically and reflectively 

GA8 Locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics include:

  • The nature of Supervision – exploring dimensions of supervisory practice, roles and purpose;
  • Supervisory models – comparing and evaluating key facets of supervisory process and their application in differing supervisory contexts;
  • The dynamics of Supervision – critical factors in the supervisory relationship; professional resilience and self-supervision;
  • Reflective Practice in Supervision – addressing underlying assumptions and systemic issues that impact on supervision;
  • Ethical issues in Supervision – professional conduct, procedures, boundaries, reporting;
  • Spirituality and Supervision – Ignatian Spirituality and contemplative stances for supervisory practice;
  • Context and community in Supervision – the significance and complexity of differing contexts and community within and surrounding supervisory practice.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

THSP512 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face to face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include: 

  1. Self-directed activities (such as completing scaffolded reading tasks or web-based exercises) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic; 
  2. Small-group tasks and activities (such as contributing to discussion forums or undertaking peer review) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings; 
  3. Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas; 
  4. Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice; 
  5. Critically reflective activities (such as a guided Examen or private journal-writing) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action. 

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and supervision, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. 30-minute in-class presentation, (equivalent to 3,000 words), including a role play and written reflective evaluation. This task is designed to enable students to demonstrate skills and attitudes necessary for individual supervision. 


LO1, LO2 

GA1, GA3, GA4 

2. Theoretical essay (3000-words.) This task is designed to enable students to review and evaluate the major literature on individual supervision. The essay will require students to synthesise and evaluate the theoretical understanding of individual supervision presented in this unit. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5  

GA1, GA4, GA8

Representative texts and references

Bumpus, M. & Bradburn-Langer, R. Supervision of Spiritual Directors: Engaging in Holy Mystery. London, UK: Morehouse Publishing, 2005. 

Carroll, M. Effective Supervision for the Helping Professions, 2nd ed. London: Sage, 2014 (not yet in the DML) 

Conroy, M. Looking into the well: supervision of spiritual directors. Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press, 1995. 

Fook, J, & F. Gardner. Practising Critical Reflection. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2007. 

Gardner, F. Critical Spirituality: A holistic approach to contemporary practice. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2011. 

Hawkins, P., & R. Shohet. Supervision in the Helping Professions, 4th ed. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2012. 

Hewson, Daphne, and Michael Carroll. Reflective Supervision Toolkit, 2016 

Hewson, Daphne, and Michael Carroll. Reflective Practice In Supervision, 2016 

Traub, G.W. SJ. (Ed). An Ignatian Spiritual Reader, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2008 

Leach, J. & Paterson, M. Pastoral Supervision – A Handbook, London: SCM Press, 2010

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