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Reasons for Clinical Supervision
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In this section, we will discuss the three main reasons to train clinical supervisees in the use of supervision. In addition, we will also discuss the special skills, knowledge, and attitudes a clinical supervisee should acquire when entering a supervisee-supervisor relationship.
As you are well aware, there is still a lack of research into supervision in a clinical setting. What research there is emphasizes the importance of educating clinical supervisees on the supervision process. One study by Byrne revealed that out of thirty-three trainee counselors, 49% had received no formal training for the supervision process. Another study by Kaberry, focusing on abuse in clinical supervision, concluded that the best way to avoid abuse in clinical supervision is for the supervisees to be prepared so that he or she knows what to expect in the process, and can be assertive if receiving poor supervision.
♦ 3 Reasons to Train Clinical Supervisees in Supervision
In my experience, there are three main reasons to train clinical supervisees in the use of supervision. The three reasons are that:
Training in supervision is empowering for the supervisee, and
Training in supervision helps to create a clearly contracted working alliance in which the clinical supervisee feels safe to expose his or her work and fully disclose, for example, a history of personal issues or prejudices that may be affecting his or her effectiveness as a counselor, and
The supervision alliance is a facilitative relationship which requires active participation by both parties.
♦ Six Key Skills
Among the many skills to be learned, I focus on six key skills.
--Skill # 1 -
The first of these is for the supervisee to develop awareness of his or her internal processes, such as bodily sensations and emotions, and be able to accurately describe them to his or her supervisor. At the end of this section, I will provide you with a specific technique I use with supervisees.
--Skill # 2 - As you know, a second connecting skill that is vital for the supervisee is the ability to develop awareness of the moment-to-moment interaction between him or herself and the client; and be able to articulate this to the supervisor.
--Skill # 3 - In addition to awareness of internal processes and awareness of moment to moment interaction with a client, the third skill I teach in training is the ability to present work economically. By economically, I mean using well-chosen words and metaphors.
--Skill # 4 - In addition to developing awareness of internal processes and client interaction, and presenting work economically, the fourth of these skills is a discussion as to how the supervisee will present his or her work. For example, will the clinical supervisee present his or her work in a face-to-face informal chat after each meeting with a client, or a weekly one hour face to face meeting, or an audiotaped summary?
As you may be aware, several state licensure regulations regulate the format and length of the meetings required. If you are not sure if your state regulates the format and length of the meetings between a supervisor and supervisee, check the internet. Do you agree that teaching this skill helps supervisors and supervisees find methods that suit the developmental needs and learning style of the supervisee most effectively?
--Skill # 5 - Fifth, I find it important to educate clinical supervisees in the process of feedback. Regarding feedback, we discuss both how to be open to it, and how to be prepared to monitor his or her practice according to this feedback.
--Skill # 6 - Finally, in addition to developing awareness of internal processes and client interaction, presenting work economically, negotiating presentation styles and schedules, and accepting feedback, I find that the sixth important skill I convey for supervisees is how to monitor and review his or her use of supervision, and how to take responsibility for giving feedback to his or her supervisor about the supervision received. I also convey how useful this feedback has been to the supervisee and his or her clients.
♦ 7 Point Assessment for Interpersonal Process Recall
I initially spend much time with my supervisee talking about internal awareness. Do you agree that probably one of the most difficult skills for clinical supervisees to learn seems to be their ability to use internal awareness in their interactions with their clients, and perhaps also their supervisor? I have found clinical supervisees also find it challenging to communicate their internal awareness appropriately.
One of the best ways of training regarding Interpersonal Process Recall I have found, is to use the following seven point assessment following a client session.
7 Point Assessment for Interpersonal Process Recall
-- 1. What were you feeling? Where in your body was the feeling?
-- 2. What did you imagine your client was feeling or thinking?
-- 3. Were you aware of wanting to do something?
-- 4. Did you have any plans where you wanted the session to go?
-- 5. Did you feel that the client had any expectations of you at this point?
-- 6. Were you aware of projecting an image? What kind? Is this image what you wanted and not what the client wanted?
-- 7. Did your client remind you of anyone else in your life? What effect did this have on you?
Would using this 7-point Interpersonal Process Recall technique be useful in your next session with your clinical supervisee?
Would it be beneficial to play this section for your supervisee, and to ask them to write a few words in response to each of these seven points following a session with a client?
In this section, we have discussed the three main reasons to train supervisees in the use of supervision. These are training is empowering, the formation of a clear working alliance, and creating a facilitative relationship. In addition, we have discussed the special skills, knowledge, and attitudes a supervisee should acquire when entering a supervisee-supervisor relationship. These include awareness of moment-to-moment interactions, and the ability to present work economically.
In the next section, we will discuss the contracting process and the five main benefits provided by contracting. These are both parties become actively involved in the supervision process, a contract provides a clear perception of goals, the supervisor and supervisee create a clear picture of what their work looks like together, contracting creates mutuality and guards against the abuse of power, and contracts minimize covert agendas.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Amaro, C. M., Mitchell, T. B., Cordts, K. M. P., Borner, K. B., Frazer, A. L., Garcia, A. M., & Roberts, M. C. (2020). Clarifying supervision expectations: Construction of a clinical supervision contract as a didactic exercise for advanced graduate students. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 14(3), 235–241.
Cook, R. M., McKibben, W. B., & Wind, S. A. (2018). Supervisee perception of power in clinical supervision: The Power Dynamics in Supervision Scale. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 12(3), 188–195.
Falender, C. A. (2018). Clinical supervision—the missing ingredient. American Psychologist, 73(9), 1240–1250.
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