Free Paper Example on Supervision and Leadership

Published: 2023-11-29
Free Paper Example on Supervision and Leadership
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis Social work Substance abuse
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1363 words
12 min read


Changes in theory and intervention inform professional practice in social work. The needs of the clients are dynamic, which implies that the emergence of new elements that characterize the needs of the targeted group equally calls for improvement of the underlying interventions. The recent trends in substance abuse indicate a shift from traditional models of care and prevention to a more person-centered approach such as trauma-informed care and reduction of harm models. This excerpt provides a literature-based overview and applicability of trauma-informed cate and reduction of harm models as some of the new models in social work practice relating to substance abuse.

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Trauma-Informed Care

On one hand, trauma-informed care is an intervention that is focused on how service providers could use the existing systems of care to reduce the reoccurrence of trauma (Bryson et al., 2017). Unlike traditional interventions where care providers focus on practice and procedures, trauma-informed care focuses on a problem by incorporating specific needs. Therefore, trauma-informed care is founded on empowerment, trustworthiness, choice, safety, and collaboration as the five primary principles (Myers et al., 2018).

For example, in substance abuse cases, the affected person could be assisted to prevent re-traumatization by addressing their multidimensional needs based on their previous experiences. Based on this care approach, social workers are expected to help their clients to focus on enhancing and guaranteeing emotional and physical safety (Bryson et al., 2017; Myers et al., 2018). However, this care plan affirms how individuals have choices and are allowed to collaborate with social workers when making a decision. While maintaining interpersonal boundaries, the trauma-informed care approach also calls for consistency and clarity to build trustworthiness. Additionally, for individuals to overcome the implications of trauma and prevent its reoccurrence, they should be empowered and assisted to develop essential care-based skills (Bryson et al., 2017).

On the other hand, the reduction of the harm model is justified by the existence of the critical consequences of using drugs. The model is designed to reduce the adverse effects associated with the use of and exposure to drugs. The model, unlike the trauma-informed care, incorporates the need to believe and respect the rights of the affected persons (Collins et al., 2019). For example, the reduction of harm model incorporates several strategies such as meeting people who use drugs in their places, emphasizing managed use, fostering abstinence, and supporting safe use. Each of these strategies is appropriate in specific scenarios.

In this case, the reduction of harm model is similar to trauma-informed care because they both consider each case as unique with specific needs to be met using individualized interventions (Collins et al., 2019; Hawk et al., 2017). The principles that guide the reduction of harm model includes acceptance of the existence of the problem, understanding the complexity of the use of drugs, establishment of quality and individualized care plans, use of noncoercive and non-judgmental measures, giving affected people a voice, and considering the affected people as principal agents of change (Hawk et al., 2017). Therefore, when compared to the restrictive nature of traditional interventions that initially characterized the prevention of the use of drugs, both trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model are dynamic and multi-faceted.

The Hypothesis

Based on the literature-based overview of the two new models or interventions relating to substance abuse, it is justifiable to hypothesize that the emerging needs of the affected persons as well as the complex nature of substance abuse problems in society have encouraged the establishment of these new models and frameworks. For example, the failure of traditional models such as abstinence and 12-step programs to meet the emerging needs of people who use drugs is a critical concern that necessitates the creation of multidimensional interventions.

The Role of Supervision

The process of incorporating the use of trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model in social work requires a collaboration between the leaders and the practitioners (Wilkins et al., 2018). For example, through effective supervision and adherence to the underlying standards could enhance the success and effectiveness of using the new models and interventions in cases involving the use of substances. DSM-5 provides a robust classification of mental health disorders to enhance the process of diagnosis, treatment, and management. Additionally, NASW practice standards and guidelines outline the activities, processes, decisions, and support that social work practitioners and consumers should do and expect respectively. It is important to highlight the role of supervision in ensuring social workers adhere to DSM-5 and NASW practice standards when adopting the new models and interventions.

Supervision could be used to assist social work practitioners to acknowledge the complexity of the substance use problem and how collaboration could improve the process of implementing the interventions. For example, through supervision, it will be possible to build multidisciplinary collaboration and foster a multidimensional approach to behavior transformation, trauma management, and prevention of re-traumatization. Such considerations are founded on the standards and guidelines of practice in social work (Wilkins et al., 2018). At the same time, it justifies the role of supervision in ensuring that the fundamental principles of both trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model have been addressed.

Moreover, supervision will ensure that the practitioners observe the physical and emotional safety of their clients while at the same time allowing them to participate in decision making without compromising service clarity, task consistency, and interpersonal boundaries needed in social work practice. As seen in the previous section, both trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model esteem safety, choice, collaboration, and trustworthiness. For example, based on the dimensions of these principles, supervision offers a platform that guarantees adherence, professionalism, and effective implementation of interventions.


While supervision is essential in maintaining effective professionalism and adhering to set standards and guidelines, it also ensures that the laid-down process has been followed (Wilkins et al., 2018). For social workers to incorporate both trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model in their practice a well-articulated process should be followed. The social workers should identify the specific personal and external needs of their clients and ascertain the patterns involves. Once the needs have been identified, the practitioners should design a multidimensional care plan that aligns with the needs by collaborating with the clients and other stakeholders. Building trust through interpersonal professional relationships could enhance the outcome of the collaboration.

The practitioner should then implement the established care plan to achieve the outlined goal. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the care plan and process are needed to identify the emerging dynamics. For example, social work practitioners working with people who use drugs should understand that the goals are diverse and include prevention of re-traumatization, encouraging safer use, fostering managed use, attaining step-by-step abstinence, and addressing the condition of use. This process is embedded in new frameworks such as trauma-informed care and reduction of harm model. Through supervision, it is possible to guarantee ultimate adherence to this process while observing social work practice standards and guidelines (Wilkins et al., 2018).


Bryson, S. A., Gauvin, E., Jamieson, A., Rathgeber, M., Faulkner-Gibson, L., Bell, S., Davidson, J., Russel, J., & Burke, S. (2017). What are effective strategies for implementing trauma-informed care in youth inpatient psychiatric and residential treatment settings? A realist systematic review. International journal of mental health systems, 11, 36.

Collins, S. E., Clifasefi, S. L., Nelson, L. A., Stanton, J., Goldstein, S. C., Taylor, E. M., Hoffmann, G., King, V. L., Hatsukami, A. S., Cunningham, Z. L., Taylor, E., Mayberry, N., Malone, D. K., & Jackson, T. R. (2019). Randomized controlled trial of harm reduction treatment for alcohol (HaRT-A) for people experiencing homelessness and alcohol use disorder. The International journal on drug policy, 67, 24–33.

Hawk, M., Coulter, R., Egan, J. E., Fisk, S., Reuel Friedman, M., Tula, M., & Kinsky, S. (2017). Harm reduction principles for healthcare settings. Harm reduction journal, 14(1), 70.

Myers, B., Carney, T., Browne, F. A., & Wechsberg, W. M. (2018). Development of a trauma-informed substance use and sexual risk reduction intervention for young South African women. Patient preference and adherence, 12, 1997–2006.

Wilkins, D., Khan, M., Stabler, L., Newlands, F., & Mcdonnell, J. (2018). Evaluating the Quality of Social Work Supervision in UK Children's Services: Comparing Self-Report and Independent Observations. Clinical social work journal, 46(4), 350–360.

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