Work and Family: Work and Family as an Issue of Discussion in Clinical Supervision in Finland

B3 Non-refereed conference proceedings

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Heli Inkinen
Place: Turku
Publication year: 2017
Publisher: University of Turku
Book title: WORK2017. Work and Labour in the Digital Future 16-18 August 2017. Abstracts.
Start page: 252
End page: 253
ISBN: 978-951-29-6882-4


Work and family as an issue of discussion in clinical supervision in Finland
Heli Inkinen
Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
Is it possible to speak about work and family issues in the clinical supervision process in Finland?
Several training materials (see Keskiluopa 2015; Keskinen et al. 2005) for the education of the
clinical supervisors seem to guide the supervisors into the direction that the focus of supervision
should quite strictly be at work issues only. However, the majority of the supervision clients in
Finland are women and come from social and health sectors and from the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Finland. According to Rikala (2013), female workforce is often extremely “burdened”
and would need all possible support, what is. Despite structural changes in the work conditions,
clinical supervision would be an important tool.
In addition to studying training materials, I utilised crowdsourcing and asked in 2016 in three
closed social media groups from both supervisors and clients, whether it is possible to speak
about challenging work and family combination and other life issues during supervision sessions.
One of these social media groups was formed by female pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Finland and the other two groups contained clinical supervisors and members of the
Supervisors’ Association of Finland (STOry). I have analysed this oral history (see Fingerroos
et al.) kind of material with the method of content analysis. In addition to these materials, I
have utilised parts of my wider research about Gender and Coaching/Clinical Supervision and
my own experience as a supervisor to research Work and Family as an issue of discussion in clinical supervision.

My question for the female pastors’ group concerned the issue of how to combine work – often
without working hours – and family. I also inquired their opinion as to whether it should be
possible to speak about these matters in the clinical supervision. These questions resulted in 23
answers or comments from 16 female pastors. According to their responses, they were married,
single, divorced or in a relationship, and with or without children. I organised the answers
according to the contents into four groups: 1. Success and development stories, 2. Failure and
survival stories, 3. Family expectations and work community, 4. Clinical supervision.
The supervisors’ group provided 36 answers or comments from 22 supervisors (17 women
and 5 men). I asked them whether it is possible to speak about work and family issues in their
supervision sessions. According to the contents, I organised the answers into five groups: 1.
Open policy, 2. Connection to the work, 3. Distinction between therapy and supervision, 4. Strict
policy (only work issues), 5. Own experiences as a supervision client.
The praxis shows that a majority of the supervisors allow issues like work and family combination
and other life in the supervision process. It also seems that the largest client group, women, can
speak about family and other issues and not only about work during the supervision processes.
The doctoral theses conducted by Aija Koivu (2013) and Maj-Lis Kärkkäinen (2013) show that
the hard shift work of the health care sector, where women consitute a majority of the workforce,
leads now and then to sick leaves and burn outs. To prevent them, it would be useful that
the clinical supervisors could actively express that there is a possibility to openly discuss the
challenges of how to combine work and family and other life. While training supervisors, these
issues should be included into the study programme. It could also be possible to develop family
centred and open clinical supervision.
Suomala (2014) pointed out in her research that the unofficial atmosphere is not always in
favour of a woman and family friendly work place. The laws have enabled different kind of
leaves and part time working possibilities for parents of small children. However, the managers
or colleagues can express their negative attitudes towards parents trying to use them. Gender
sensitive supervising processes could encourage work places to be more woman and family friendly.


Clinical Supervision, Gender research, Work life research

Last updated on 2020-16-07 at 04:52