Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Bernadette C. Marson


As specialists who bridge the gap between the social work and substance abuse treatment fields, substance abuse social workers are expected to develop themselves as social workers by designation, substance abuse counselors by occupation, and deliver competent therapeutic services that align both professions seamlessly. As documented in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, their support in achieving this feat is clinical supervision. Despite this documentation, a review of the social work literature revealed an absence of information on clinical supervision between the social work and substance abuse fields, their supervisory alliance, and outcomes. Accordingly, this project was undertaken to fill these gaps in the literature by exploring the significance of clinical supervision for substance abuse social workers in Bermuda. The practice-focused research questions for this study were guided by Fiedler’s Contingency Theory and Vygotsky’s Collaborative Theory and a qualitative action research method was used to conduct hour-long, semi structured interviews with eight randomly selected master’s level substance abuse social workers. Data collected via this methodology were processed, sorted, and charted by way of framework analysis, and after identifying like subjects, the findings revealed that substance abuse social workers had positive experiences with supervision that were consistent with the collaborative theory. The findings of this doctoral project establish the importance of clinical supervision for substance abuse social workers and address the education and training required to ensure ethical reasoning and competency on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of clinical social work practice for positive social change.

Included in

Social Work Commons