Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Supervisory Roles


As an expert, the supervisor must provide the supervisee with answers and instruction for realistic and case-appropriate techniques, provide answers to his concerns, professional solutions for his confidence issues, and help him implement more effective case conceptualization techniques (Pearson, 2004; Young & Basham, 2008).


In this role, we address issues related to the supervisee as a mental health counselor and determine which issues, if any, are provoking discomfort and a lack of self-esteem and confidence in the supervisee's ability to counsel (Young & Basham, 2010). In this counseling role, the supervisor facilitates self-growth and encourages an awareness of his personal abilities as a professional mental health counselor and the areas in which he needs to develop his effectiveness (Pearson, 2007).


In the consulting supervisory role, we address intervention techniques and various therapeutic models that will strengthen counseling abilities. To increase confidence in counseling abilities and to augment the supervisee's range of experience, we will discuss the use of various counseling techniques. To improve the effectiveness of interventions we will review client outcomes. This supervisory role "provides options and alternatives rather than answers, and the interaction is more collegial" (Pearson, 2007, p. 363). Furthermore, we would discuss case conceptualization and treatment planning as they relate to current caseloads (Pearson, 2007).

Supervisory Skills Relevant to Roles

Teacher Supervisory Role and Educating

In the supervisory role as teacher, an ability to educate or instill knowledge is the most essential to the supervisee's success. Additionally, the ability to assess the supervisee's needs and augmenting his counseling knowledge is valuable. Where the supervisee lacks education and experience, the supervisor must provide appropriate teaching (Worthen & Lambert, 2007). This role embraces the supervisor's ability to provide constructive feedback, teach various intervention models and techniques, and provide explanations and reasoning behind these methods (Pearson, 2007).

Counselor Supervisory Role and Personalized Helping

In this supervisory role, the skill of identifying unresolved issues in the supervisee is valuable and necessary (Young & Basham, 2010). The supervisor must encourage self-growth as it applies to the supervisee's counseling abilities, and explore his or her personal strengths and weaknesses as they augment and constrain the supervisee's ability to counsel appropriately. The counselor/supervisor must have the ability to gain a personalized perspective of the supervisee and help him or her function effectively (Pearson, 2007).

Consultant Supervisory Role and Collaboration

Collaboration is the most valuable skill for the consultant/supervisor. This supervisor must have the ability to form an overall perspective of the relationship between the supervisee and his or her clients, and the models used for intervention (Pearson, 2007). Rather than teaching the supervisee new methods of intervention and providing answers for his or her questions, the supervisor, in a consulting role, engages in discussions and brainstorming alternative methods and perspectives (Pearson, 2007). The focus of this role type is more on the client, the treatment, and outcomes as the subject for exploring alternative methods and techniques.

The Importance of Supervision to Counselors and their Profession

Supervision is a valuable tool for monitoring clients as well as guiding the development of mental health counselors and other supervisees (Young & Basham, 2010). Typically, the supervisory process pairs a student or trainee with an experienced, more knowledgeable professional. This process is part of a gate-keeping system that maintains standards for the profession as well as new mental health counselors. A supervisor is responsible for determining the general quality of new counselors' professional knowledge and behavior, addressing challenges as well as strengths, and evaluating the individual as a future self-directed counselor.

The supervisor is responsible for protecting the profession as well as the individuals who seek help from mental health counselors. Worthen and Lambert (2007) determined "systematically and regularly monitoring client outcomes and providing outcome feedback to counselors and supervisors can enhance client outcomes, especially for clients not making expected treatment progress" (para. 22). Furthermore, one of the primary goals for clinical supervision is "the facilitation of competency as a counselor and professional" (Worthen & Lambert, 2007, para 1).


Pearson, Q. M. (2004). Getting the most out of clinical supervision: Strategies for mental health. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 26(4), 361–373.

Worthen, V., & Lambert, M. (2007). Outcome oriented supervision: Advantages of adding systematic client tracking to supportive consultations. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 7(1), 48-53. doi: 10.1080/14733140601140873

Young, M. A. & Basham, A. (2010). Chapter eight: Consultation and Supervision. In Erford, B. (Ed.) Orientation to the Counseling Profession: Advocacy, Ethics, and Essential Professional Foundations (p. 193-212). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Education, Inc.

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