Intervision and professional development: an exploration of a peer-group reflection method in social work education

Staempfli, Adi and Fairtlough, Anna. 2019. Intervision and professional development: an exploration of a peer-group reflection method in social work education. The British Journal of Social Work, 49(5), pp. 1254-1273. ISSN 0045-3102 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

‘Intervision’, a peer-led group reflection method, was introduced in a teaching partnership between a university and three local authorities to enhance the quality of social work education and support the development of a learning culture across the partnership. A review of the limited international research on Intervision shows almost entirely positive impacts but no studies in social work education. This article reports on research into impacts following the introduction of Intervision sessions for BA and MA social work students. An interpretive, qualitative approach with thematic data analysis of two focus groups with 23 participants was carried out. Findings show that for most students, Intervision offered emotional containment, widened their perspectives and enhanced skills for Intervision. Students identified several positive impacts on their professional development and practice. Reported factors that contributed to students’ varied experience of Intervision sessions and their impact were commitment among participants and facilitators’ ability to model the Intervision process. The context of the teaching partnership was crucial in supporting students to negotiate their learning at the boundary between practice and university. Based on these findings Intervision is suggested as a useful approach to embed peer-led reflective practice, and open questions for further research are suggested.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Social work education / Reflective practice / Focus groups / Research and evaluation / Peer group supervision

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Social Work


11 October 2018Accepted
15 November 2018Published Online
July 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

31 Oct 2018 12:24

Last Modified:

15 Nov 2020 02:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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