Supervision of Novice Counsellors

Amy Marco, M.C., CCC
Erin Musick-Neily, M.C., R. Psych
May 7th, 2014
 Who
we are
 Who you are 
 Who
in this room has experienced good
 What made it good?
The experience of good supervision has a
lasting impact on us as professionals (Orlinksy,
Botermans, & Ronnestad, 2001). It is a
relational experience and one that shapes us
personally and professionally.
 Why
talk about supervision and new/novice
 Defining supervision
 Counselling practicums
 Common presenting issues
 Developmental model
 Mirroring process
 Unique challenges
 Tips for interns and new counsellors
 How supervision can help/tips for supervisors
 Questions
Supervision plays a critical role in the preparation of
future mental health professionals
Two central purposes:
To foster the supervisee’s professional development
(a supportive and educational function)
To ensure client welfare (the supervisor as a gate
keeper to the profession)
(Bernard & Goodyear; Bornsheuer)
ETHICS! Good supervision contributes to the future of
the profession and supporting the development of
competent and ethical professionals This relates to
competency and also public accountability (Rodolfa et
al., 2005).
 Many
conceptualizations and models of
 We are not suggesting a cookie cutter
approach but will outline a model that can
be applied for supervisors to consider
 Two main categories of supervision:
developmental and administrative
 Developmental supervision focuses on
 Administrative supervision focuses more on
management as a function
Canadian Psychological Association; Starr
 The
Mutual Recognition Agreement (2001,
p.10) defines supervision as:
“A kind of management that involves
responsibility for the services provided under
one’s supervision and may involve teaching in
the context of a relationship focused on
developing or enhancing the competence of
the person being supervised. Supervision is the
preferred vehicle for the integration of
practice, theory, and research, with the
supervisor as role model”
(Canadian Psychological Association, 2001).
Bernard & Goodyear (2009) offer the following
“Supervision is an intervention provided by a more
senior member of the profession to a more junior
member or members of the same profession. This
- Is evaluative and hierarchal
- Extends over time, and
- Has the simultaneous purposes of enhancing the
professional functioning of the more junior
person(s); monitoring the quality of professional
services offered to the clients that she, he or
they see; and serving as a gatekeeper for those
who are to enter the particular profession.” (p.
 It
is erroneous to assume that all good
counsellors make good supervisors.
 They are unique and distinct processes, that
have some shared characteristics.
(Scott, Ingram, Vitanza, & Smith, 2000)
 Specialized
training in supervision is
recommended in order to engage in the
process ethically and competently
(Bernard & Goodyear, 2009)
Master’s level or Doctorate level of education
in a related field (psychology, social work etc.)
 Require specific number of hours at counselling
practicum site
 Specific direct and indirect client hours
 Specific number of supervision hours
 Observation and shadowing
 Carry own client caseload
 PD activities and seminars
 Work with clients is supervised
 Present own client work
Most common: depression, anxiety, stress,
academic concerns, transitions/adjustment,
relationship issues
 Less common for practicum students or new
counsellors to see: complex trauma, couples/family
counselling, Axis II diagnoses
 Note: sometimes other issues present themselves
part-way through counselling, such as trauma, so
practicum students do end up working with these
issues at times
So one role of the supervisor would be to manage
these types of issues so that new counsellors are not
overwhelmed or taking on presenting concerns they
are not equipped to deal with.
 Exhibits high anxiety
 Exhibits high motivation
 Is dependent on supervisor
 Focuses predominately on the self,
particularly on performance or technique or
following of guidelines (cookbook)
 Is fearful of evaluation
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 12)
 Be supportive & prescriptive
 Provide structure and positive feedback
 Minimal direct confrontation
 Have the supervisee work with only mildly distressed
 Institute observation and role play
 Emphasize and encourage conceptualization, skill
acquisition and development, self monitoring of skill
development, and attention to the client response to
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 12)
 “Trial and tribulation” period
 Experiences dependency-autonomy conflicts
 Fluctuates in confidence and motivation
 Shifts focus to the client with increased empathy
 Links mood to success with clients
 Increased understanding of own limitations
 Uses therapeutic self in interventions
 Uneven theoretical and conceptual integration
 Sensitive and anxious re: evaluation
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 12)
Balances autonomy with support and structure
Works to increase autonomy and confidence in the
Introduces and considers countertransference
Deals with self, defensiveness, transference, affect and
the supervisory relationship
Articulates theory and conceptual framing
Challenges supervisee to increase self awareness
Helps the supervisee identify and understand strengths and
Accepts de-idealization of him/herself
Monitors use of videotaping and live observation
Encourages multiple theoretical conceptualizations
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 12)
“Calm after the storm”
Stable motivation
Secure in autonomy
Focuses on client, self and process
Professional identity at the core of his or her treatment
Is not disabled by remaining doubts
Accepts strengths and weaknesses (high level of insight)
Exhibits high empathy and understanding
Uses the therapeutic self in interventions
Integrates client information, personal responses, theoretical
information and empirical information
May find it a challenge to be flexible in approach
Has accurate empathy
Addresses areas of weakness with increased confidence and nondefensiveness
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 13)
Assesses consistency in performance and works
towards integration
Emphasizes autonomy and growth
Less structure and less intrusive
Engages in confrontation
Devotes attention to parallel process,
countertransference, and the supervisory relationship
Encourages self discovery and insight in the
Encourages experimentation and exploration
Provides advice re: job searches and professional
(Falender & Shafranske, 2004, p. 12)
 The
process in therapy (between counsellor
and client) is mirrored in the supervisory
 Supervisee awareness of the similarities in
both relationships (client/counsellor &
supervisor/supervisee) = benefits for
therapeutic relationship
Increased understanding of client
Learn to respond to clients in same/similar way
that their supervisor responds to them
Russell et al. as cited in Bernard & Goodyear, 2009; Starr, 2014
 Transference
– can be positive or negative
(for example, supervisee views supervisor as
more critical than they actually are (from
their own internal self-criticalness) or
supervisee idealizes supervisor which is
important in early stages
 Other examples: the supervisor becomes the
critical parent, the nurturing parent, the
dismissive spouse etc.
Allphin as cited in Bernard & Goodyear; Lewis as cited in Bernard &
Goodyear, 2009
 Positive
or negative
 Examples where Intern/Novice
 Is idealized by client
 Is viewed as inferior
 Is viewed as a peer
One of the main tasks of supervision is to address
countertransference in the supervisory
 Very strong feelings can arise in supervision for
both supervisor and supervisee
 Sources of countertransference:
Supervisee’s interpersonal style, supervisor’s own
unresolved personal issues, supervisor’s personality
characteristics; nature of learning and teaching
Falender & Shafranske, 2004; Omand, 2010
 Examples:
Viewing client as more intelligent/ capable;
Viewing client as peer (feelings of friendship or
romantic attraction)
Feeling threatened or intimidated by client
(academically or otherwise)
Viewing client as partner, spouse, friend, etc.
Over identification with client (similar age,
experiences, schooling) resulting in nontherapeutic discussion
Resistance in supervisees may occur when:
 There is lack of trust in the supervisory
 Parallel processes interferes
 Disagreement about supervision tasks and
 Supervisor is too directive
 Personality clashes/traits
Bernard & Goodyear, 2009
 Clients
with very high intellectual/academic
 Increased complexity of client issues (i.e.
Cairns et al., 2010)
 Lack of resources—not enough counselling
staff to respond to large numbers of clients
 A mismatch between the type of supervision
offered and the type of supervision that is
needed (one paint brush)
de Rivera (1992) outlines four stages of
individual therapy:
1. Commitment
-Mutual goals, client motivation, clientcounsellor match
-Identify problem(s), gain clarity
-Relapse prevention, applying tools, making and
maintaining changes
-Develop independence in client, therapeutic
gains maintained on own
 The
stages of individual therapy in part
mirror the stages of development in
 Stage
1: Commitment
Mirrors Level 1 of IDM
Relationship development
Mutual goals
 Stage
2: Process
Mirrors Level 2 of IDM
Naming of transference and countertransference
in supervision
Intern/Novice counsellor makes gains
Self awareness – role of self in therapeutic
 Stages
3 and 4 mirror IDM Level 3
 Stage 3: Change
Integrating knowledge and skills, increased
autonomy and independence, intern more self
 Stage
4: Termination
The ending of the internship, moving forward
with acquired knowledge and skills
Strong working alliance
 Guidance that matches developmental level
 Encourage supervisees how to arrive at solutions
 Assist in managing all experiences, especially
 Don’t provide therapy by proxy
 Set boundaries
-Omand, 2010; Rousmaniere, 2013; Starr, 2014
Haynes et al. (2003) outlines these 10 qualities of
inadequate supervision:
 Lack of interest
 Lack of availability
 Rigid approach
 Lack of knowledge and experience
 Lack of reliability
 Irregular feedback
 Overly critical approach
 Lack of empathy
 Lack of organization (no structure)
 Lack of professional ethics
Power (equality vs. differential)
Power differential
Egalitarian approach
Challenge and support
Both are needed – it’s a delicate balance
Structure (engagement, roles and boundaries)
“Supervisees experienced narrowing when they
perceived that (a) the feedback was overly critical
without being contextualized, (b) the theoretical
stance of the supervisor was inflexible, and (c) they
were indiscriminately treated as apprentices”
(Gazzola & Thériault, 2007)
 Honesty
 Read
and use resources
 Patience
 Self care
 Consult
 Openness
 Personal counselling
 Boundaries
 Ethics, ethics, ethics!
Be approachable and open
 Team work approach
 Don’t supervise from a place of power
 Keep current
 Consider additional training specific to
 Supervise with intention
 Name transference and counter-transference as
issues in supervision
 Ensure appropriate monitoring throughout (of
notes, videos etc.)
 Encourage self care, balance, outside therapy in
supervisees (be mindful of dual roles – be the
supervisor, not the supervisee’s counsellor)
Erin Musick-Neily, M.C., R. Psych
Registered Psychologist – Lethbridge
Counselling Services (private practice)
[email protected]
Amy Marco, M.C.
Counsellor – Alberta Health Services
Email: [email protected]
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