Supervision provides professional and personal support to people working in Church ministry. Offered in a trusting and confidential setting, the benefits can include improved workplace relationships, renewed sense of vocation, clarity of roles, support and managing stress.

For many years I have worked as a spiritual mentor, counsellor and social worker.  During this time, I have met with many people working in Church communities including ministers, pastoral workers, students of theology and volunteers. Among the many issues arising in our conversations are :

  • The need to gain greater balance between the demands of ministry and home life.
  • A lack of professional development in ministry – sometimes feeling unskilled in ministry with some tasks
  • A feeling of isolation in ministry and a lack of teamwork with the result resulting in feelings of burnout

Reflecting on the challenges of working in ministry today and looking to support people on this journey, I also offer professional supervision services in person or via zoom  

My primary training is in theology, social work and counselling. I am a member of the Australian Association of Supervisors (AAOS) 

Introduction to Professional Supervision

by Damien Peile


The AAOS defines supervision as a contractual, relational, collaborative process, which facilitates the ethical and professional practice of the supervisee.  AAOS further defines supervision as a professional contracted relationship between a trained supervisor and a practitioner.  Supervision is an opportunity for the supervisee to reflect on their practice to gain a broader perspective, opening up a space in which to discover possibilities for personal and professional growth.

Professional supervision is a structured process that is framed around the needs of the person(supervisee)coming for supervision  In a confidential and trusting environment, people bring their actual work-practice to another person (i.e. the Supervisor) and with their help review what has happened in their work practice in order to learn from that experience. Supervisees talk about their work and through a process of shared reflection and thoughtfulness with the Supervisor, find more effective ways of managing their work-life balance.


  • Clergy and ministers
  • Chaplains in hospitals, schools, universities, prisons, aged care or other
  • Employees of church organisations
  • Teachers in church managed schools
  • Carers and volunteers working in Church based organisations
  • Students of theology


At early meetings the following is covered :

  • Brief introduction about the nature of supervision
  • A definition of professional pastoral supervision
  • Understanding & Preparing for supervision
  • Confidentiality & Disclosure information
  • A Supervision Agreement is developed covering short and long term goals
  • Agreement on ongoing sessions


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“I didn’t know what to expect and it was such a joy to be listened to with Deep respect and regard. And then to learn to turn everything to the lord no matter how trivial or serious or in between my feelings and thoughts were about the life journey. There were so many mountain top and valley experiences.”

“I found Damien to be a gifted listener who is authentic respectful, learned and humble all rolled in one.  Thank you Damien for guiding me to develop a deeper more authentic relationship with our God. I hope to continue again this year in 2020.  It’s a gift to myself in this busy complex and beautiful world we live in.”

“I have been seeing Damien for some time now and I have appreciated every meeting.  His deep listening, his wise responses and his understanding of the challenges and graces of human life all combine to be such a gift to me.  I value the sacred space he provides where I can share what is on my heart and continue to grow as a loved child of God.”

“A quiet space to contemplate and reflect on life’s challenges.”

“My meetings with Damien are a spiritual blessing to me as I ponder how God had been at work in me.  Sometimes the preparation for our meetings illuminated God’s activity in me and then there would be the questions Damien would put to me that required some deeper thinking to appreciate God’s work with me and the challenge to move on in the Spirit.  Damien helped me to clarify and validate my walk with Jesus.”

“I had conversations with Damien regarding discernment and vocation. I found the experience extremely rewarding and helpful. Damien helped me to find clarity and confidence going forward.”

Contact Damien for further information

M : 0419 503 421

ABN : 1511 947 1884

Contact Damien Today

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What issues or concerns do people bring to supervision?

Anything is appropriate that arises from the actual experience in ministry and can cover goals such as time management, setting priorities, dealing with some people. Sometimes the goal relates to a significant event or personal experience in the workplace that arouses strong feelings that needs clarifying. It is helpful for the supervisee to bring along a goal or statement such as :

  • In my ministry at the moment, I feel…
  • This specific pastoral incident has occurred and I need to discuss it…
  • I want an outcome regarding …
How is professional supervision different from spiritual direction or counselling?

Counselling addresses the mental well-being of a person and spiritual direction focuses on one’s relationship with God. The goal of pastoral supervision is about reflection on one’s work-practice so as to increase a sense of fulfilment and achievement in ministry. Pastoral supervision provides a forum to reflect and review workplace ministry practice in order to find new learnings and insights.  This process helps build an accountable and professional ministry as well as a more satisfying one. It is also good to keep in mind there are several overlapping processes in Spiritual Direction, Counselling and Pastoral Supervision but that doesn’t take away from the distinction between them.

Supervision and confidentiality

In most instances, pastoral supervision is completely confidential. In situations where the supervisor identifies potential abuse or other actions requiring further exploration, a discussion with the supervisee would take place with a view to information being shared with the employer organisation. The supervisor is guided by the legal and ethical standards of the profession.

My approach to supervision

In the context of ministry, pastoral supervision becomes a rewarding journey for people who desire to gain deeper insight and greater understanding in their workplace practices.  It is described by Pohly, K. (2001) as ‘A broad space to talk about whatever is happening in ministry’
In a culture of ‘quick fixes’ with pressure to succeed in the work place, little time is left to step back, and reflect and ponder on what is being done or why it is being done. My approach to supervision includes contemplative practices such as stillness and silence, prayer and meditation.  I have found that these practices add a rich source of enquiry to the thinking mind in dealing with problems in ministry, by creating a space to take time out to reflect and ponder on what needs attention.
Approaching a difficult situation from this contemplative practice can yield insights that might otherwise be unknown if one relied solely on their “thinking mind.” That is because problems sometimes require that we take a step back from the situation so as to see a bigger picture of what is happening.