Reflective Supervision for our School Mental Health Specialists

Reflective Supervision

Minds Ahead have taken an innovative approach to supporting their School Mental Health Specialist students. By providing a space for reflection, reflective supervision has helped our students enhance their well-being and improve their practice.

We know how busy school environments can be and how much our colleagues in education juggle. Sometimes we are so busy ‘doing’ that we don’t tale opportunities to reflect on what we have achieved and consider new possibilities.

Research supports the effectiveness of reflective supervision. A study found that reflective supervision had a positive impact on professionals’ well-being, job satisfaction and the ability to cope with job-related stress (Frosch et al., 2018). Another study highlights that reflective supervision is a unique professional development practice rapidly increasing in use and holds promise for building early childhood professionals’ social and emotional well-being (Susman-Stillman et al., 2020).

Minds Ahead’s model of reflective supervision takes a coaching approach not a clinical one.

Reflective supervision has given our students the opportunity to 

  • Reflect on their achievements and strengths, enabling them to build confidence and trust in themselves. 
  • Offload and process stressful situations that have led to overwhelm and dealing with high stakes accountability environments. 
  • Challenge themselves to be part of the whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing culture change.
  • Reflect on their current practices and gain the headspace to consider new possibilities and ways forward. 
  • Navigate tricky workplace relationships that can often hinder their ability to embed strategic change. 


We are drawing out the Mental Health specialists’ skills/capacity rather than putting in as a therapist or mentor might do. Reflective Supervision is carried out on both a 1:1 and group basis. 

The 1:1s provide the opportunity for individual, tailored support allowing students to build their self-awareness, resilience and confidence to flourish as a School Mental Health Specialist. 


The group sessions have provided opportunities to support each other as peers using a variety of supervision frameworks. The group supervision sessions upskill the School Mental Health Specialist to provide similar support to others in their setting, building capacity to support the whole school community to flourish.

All  School Mental Health Specialists have been offered the opportunity to opt in to the programme. The programme provides huge value for the students from both a professional and personal development perspective. 

"Reflective Supervision has been key to my professional development- Being at uni has been extremely difficult whilst working full time. Education is a demanding job on its own without the additional commitment of studying. Reflective Supervision has given me a space to share my thoughts and feelings and above all reflect on how I can move forward especially when I become stuck. I am able to truly share, in a confidential environment without the fear of being judged. At the end of each supervision session, I always feel empowered to carry on,  I believe in myself again and I am able to take the steps necessary to achieve what sometimes feels unachievable. I am in full support of supervision and think it should be available to all.
Group Reflective Supervision has given us the opportunity to develop our skills around supervision to empower others. This has not only enabled me to support the members of my student group but to transfer those skills into the workplace enabling others to find solutions when they are facing challenges and become stuck themselves.  
Reflective Supervision has enabled me to stop doing the talking, stop finding solutions for other people's problems and empower them to find their own. 
Overall Reflective Supervision has had a positive impact on my mental health and well-being. It has helped me see things differently."

Mrs P. Willis

Springfield Primary School

In conclusion, reflective supervision can be a valuable tool for mental health specialists working in schools. By enhancing self-awareness, supporting professional growth, reducing burnout, and improving student outcomes, reflective supervision can help mental health specialists provide effective support to students who are struggling with mental health issues or other challenges.

Find out more about our mental health qualifications to support the mental health and well-being of the whole school community:


Frosch CA, Varwani Z, Mitchell J, Caraccioli C, Willoughby M. Impact of Reflective Supervision on early Childhood Interventionists’ Perceptions of Self-efficacym Job Satisfaction, and Job Stress. Infant Ment Health J. 2018 Jul;39(4):385-395. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21718. Epub 2018 Jul 3. PMID: 29968927.

Amy Susman-Stillman, Stefanie Lim, Alyssa Meuwissen & Christopher Watson (2020) Reflective Supervision/Consultation and Early Childhood Professionals’ Well-Being: A Qualitative Analysis of Supervisors’ Perspectives, Early Education and Development, 31:7, 1151-1168, DOI: 10.1080/10409289.2020.1793654