Exploring Supervisory Intentions and Actions of New Counseling Supervisors

Ming Jhen Lai, Hsiu Jung Chen*


研究成果: 雜誌貢獻期刊論文同行評審


Transitioning from a counseling practitioner to a counseling supervisor involves professional role changes (Alonso, 1983). New supervisors encounter a variety of challenges, including the shock of their role change, difficulty replicating past models, role conflict and confusion, and pressure associated with their new position. Over time, new supervisors will explore new roles and go through a stage of role recovery to establish a sense of identity within their position (Roenhauser, 1994; Stoltenberg & McNeill, 2010; Watkins, 1990, 2013). The process of becoming a supervisor is similar to that for a psychotherapist and denotes a journey of professional development. New supervisors encounter a variety of challenges during their initial years, including the following: (1) Navigating the challenges of anxiety and depression that often accompany the development of a supervisory mindset. (2) Establishing a new sense of identity within the new position. (3) Developing a credible psychotherapy and supervisory practice (Gazzola et al., 2013; Watkins, 2013). Accordingly, the professional development status of new counseling supervisors should be clarified, and their intrinsic motivation and supervisory intentions should be explored. By exploring supervisory intentions and corresponding actions, new supervisors can be provided with a reference for the implementation of supervision practice. The present study explored the supervisory intentions and actions of new counseling supervisors during supervision to gain insights into the supervision process. The research results may be used as a reference for new counseling supervisors to reflect upon and enhance their professional development. This study enrolled four new counseling supervisors and used their supervision work along with one supervisee’s recordings of their early and middle stage sessions in the supervision process. Interpersonal process recall (IPR) interviews were conducted. This study recruited counseling supervisors who possessed a counselor certificate and had less than 5 years of supervision experience. Four counseling supervisors (three women and one man) were enrolled. Three counseling supervisors were aged 30–40 years, and one was aged 40–50 years. Three counseling supervisors had 0.5 years of seniority, and one had 4 years of seniority. One counseling supervisor used an interpersonal process model, one used a self-awareness supervision model, and two had no fixed model. A total of eight interviews were conducted. Data analysis was based on the thematic analysis method developed by Braun and Clarke (2006, 2022). The process of data analysis included familiarization, coding, theme development, refinement, naming, and recording the results. After the sorting step, 52 paragraphs outlining supervisory intentions were obtained for analysis. From these, 16 distinct themes emerged, each accompanied by an analysis of corresponding supervisory actions. Five primary dilemma themes emerged. The themes of supervisory intention were classified according to the seven-eyed supervision model, and supervisory actions were analyzed according to the six types of actions proposed by Heron (1989), which are prescriptive, informative, confronting, cathartic, catalytic, and supportive. The introspective and evaluative thoughts of the researchers were also collected. This study has three findings: 1. In the early stage of supervision, out of the total 55 themes of supervisory intention, new counseling supervisors primarily focus on three areas: (1) Enhancing the supervisees’ ability to obtain client information. (2) Developing the supervisee’s ability to understand and conceptualize the client. (3) Improving the supervisee’s intervention techniques. In the middle stage of supervision, out of the total 49 themes of supervisory intention, the focus shifts toward exploring the interaction between the counselor and client, examining how the supervisee’s individual issues influence the counseling style, and exploring the use of reflection and adjustment of the supervisory relationship during counseling. 2. The 16 distinct themes of supervisory intention were classified according to the seven-eyed supervisory model. Eye 1: With a focus on the client, two supervisory intent themes emerge, as follows: (1) Developing a comprehensive understanding and conceptualization of the client. (2) Improving comprehension of the client according to theoretical perspectives and counseling expertise. Eye 2: With a focus on interventions, three supervisory intent themes emerge, as follows: (1) Guiding the direction of work to broaden the supervisee’s frame of reference. (2) Encouraging the supervisees to reflect on the relationship between counseling intention and intervention. (3) Enhancing the supervisee’s intervention techniques. Eye 3: With a focus on the counseling relationship, one supervisory intent theme emerges, as follows: promoting awareness of the status of the counseling relationship and its effects. Eye 4: With a focus on the supervisee, six supervisory intent themes emerge, as follows: (1) Enhancing the supervisee’s recognition of their emotions. (2) Encouraging the supervisee to evaluate their professional development. (3) Developing plans for future learning and growth. (4) Increasing the supervisee’s understanding of their challenges and personal situation. (5) Increasing the supervisee’s knowledge and awareness of their professional standing. (6) Encouraging the supervisee to cultivate a unique counseling style and identity. Eye 5: With a focus on the supervisory relationship, two supervisory intent themes emerge, as follows: (1) Enhancing a positive and supportive supervisory relationship. (2) Managing personalized supervisee responses during supervision. Eye 6: With a focus on the supervisor, one supervisory intent theme emerges, as follows: enhancing supervisor’s perception and reflection on their own supervisory style. Eye 7: With a focus on the wider context, one supervisory intent theme emerges, as follows: promoting the concept of building systems cooperation. The main supervisory intentions of new counseling supervisors are as follows: (1) Developing a comprehensive understanding and conceptualization of the client. (2) Enhancing the supervisee’s intervention techniques. (3) Increasing the supervisee’s understanding of their challenges and personal situation. Given the unique developmental stage of new counseling supervisors, this study identified five dilemmas that new counseling supervisors may encounter when determining how to best support their supervisees’ professional growth, as follows: whether to challenge or support a supervisee, whether to offer direct instruction or encourage the supervisee’s autonomy, whether to focus on the client or the supervisee, whether to encourage a supervisor-centered or supervisee-centered experience, and determining the extent of learning that should be based on the needs of the client versus the need of the supervisee. New counseling supervisors must perceive these dilemmas dialectically, comprehend the implications of their decisions, and be consciously aware that supervision is an essential learning process. On the basis of the aforementioned findings, this study developed a dynamic process framework that integrates supervisory intentions, actions, and common dilemmas. Recommendations for future research and clinical guidance are provided: systematic training should be provided to new counseling supervisors to ensure a seamless transition to their new role, and counseling supervisors should increase their awareness of their supervision work. According to Crowell (2007), supervisors may influence the supervisory relationship and the performance of their supervision work due to their inherent needs, including the desire to be liked, the need to be correct, and the desire for recognition as successful mentors who produce exceptional students. Finally, supervisors must navigate with balance and flexibility to succeed in their roles. To this end, supervisors must persist in the supervision process, acknowledge the presence of dialectical tension, realize the purpose of individual supervision, and encourage individuals to cultivate their own willpower as a driving force for the effective implementation of supervision work. The limitations of this study and the suggestions for further research include the following: (1) The insights into the supervisory intentions, actions, and dilemmas of new counseling supervisors presented in this study were obtained from four new counseling supervisors. The data are robust and reliable; however, increasing the number of research participants may enhance the applicability of the study results and strengthen their implications. (2) We discovered various supervisory intentions in different stages of the research. The data analysis was based on the researchers’ perspectives. Incorporating the views of the counseling supervisors may enhance future research. (3) This study focused on supervisory intentions and supervision actions in the early and middle stages of supervision. Future research may include intentions and actions in the later stages of supervision. (4) A quantitative analysis of our findings may be beneficial. New counseling supervisors may benefit from the development of a professional work checklist that incorporates the dilemmas likely to be encountered during their supervision work.

頁(從 - 到)835-862
期刊Bulletin of Educational Psychology
出版狀態已發佈 - 2023 6月

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 教育
  • 發展與教育心理學


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