Creating a Safe Holding Environment through Action Research: Illuminating Complex Ethical Dimensions in Supervision, Education and Praxis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Supervision and professional practice involve complex ethical dilemmas, which can result in moral distress. Recent action research projects have been established with the aim of developing new forms of ethics-focused supervision that creates a confidential atmosphere and a transparent basis for honest dialogue. This article illustrates how reflective dialogue and qualitative inquiry on ethical dimensions serve primary purposes of supervision: to create a space for professionals in which they can process moral distress, as well as developing moral perception and strengthening professional ethical awareness, which bridges the gap between realities of practice and the principles and ideals of the profession. Based on qualitative interviews this article illuminates professionals’ first-hand experiences with complex ethical dilemmas and explicates their visions for novel, trust-based supervisory trajectories, developed through dialogical action research, that can serve as safe, collegial holding-environments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020



  • Supervision
  • Moral Distress
  • Education
  • Action Research
  • Praxis

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