How Highly Effective Psychotherapy Supervisors Supervise: A Longitudinal Study of Supervisees’ Experiences

  • Author / Creator
    Pott, Terilyn
  • The supervision of pre-professional psychologists is a mandated and essential training process. Supervisors have two overarching roles: (a) they are gatekeepers to the profession, protecting the public from incompetent psychologists and (b) they are providers of essential training to pre-professional psychologists to enable them to become fully competent. Research has explored what constitutes good supervision to better understand the process and help enhance training programs. Examining how expert supervisors provide supervision is a new way to study this, as experts have different ways of conceptualizing their work than novices. For example, expert supervisors appear to have distinct skills, behaviours and cognitions that may affect supervision. This study focused on identifying supervisees’ experiences of being supervised by an expert supervisor to better understand this process, and identify what supervisors do well that enhances supervision. Through the use of snowball sampling and peer nominations based on a set criteria, eight expert supervisors were identified, of which four had students participate in this study. Seven supervisees participated in three semi-structured interviews over the span of their year internship to discuss what expert supervisors do well within supervision. Experts were identified as having specific attributes in comparison to their counterparts, such as being a supportive ally, being adaptive and being credible. Supervisees identified that experts were able to create a positive alliance, focused on engaging in responsive teaching, and actively used their own backgrounds and experiences in supervision. Supervisees also indicated that expert supervisors impacted their practice by enhancing their growth and development, both personally and professionally, and by helping supervisees improve their perceived outcomes with clients. Results from this study help capture the characteristics and behaviours of expert supervisors that make supervision work, and provide insight on what impacts the supervision dynamic.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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