Objectives: The growing recognition of clinical supervision as the basis for high-quality mental health services is apparent in policy, research and clinical practice, but an empirical definition is required to progress research and practice.
Method: A logical analysis was used to draft a working definition, and then a systematic review of 24 empirical studies of clinical supervision produced a best evidence synthesis, which was used to test and improve this definition.
Results: The logical analysis indicated that the most popular definition (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992) failed all four necessary tests of a good definition: precision, specification, operationalization and corroboration. The systematic review synthesis was then used to test the working definition, which passed these tests (with two amendments).
Conclusion: These two complementary review approaches created a firmer basis for advancing research and practice.