Academic journal article Counselor Education and Supervision

Styles of Counselor Supervision as Perceived by Supervisors and Supervisees

Academic journal article Counselor Education and Supervision

Styles of Counselor Supervision as Perceived by Supervisors and Supervisees

Article excerpt

The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the preferences of supervisors and supervisees for 4 styles of counselor supervision and the perceived frequency of use of the 4 styles during a 10-week supervision experience. The styles are labeled directive teacher supportive teacher, counselor, and consultant. Data collected using 90 doctoral student supervisors and 168 master's-degree student supervisees showed significant correlations among the styles. Implications for the process of counselor supervision are offered.

To evaluate the effectiveness of supervision and to teach students to conduct effective supervision, counselor educators and supervisors must have clear definitions of the various approaches that can be used and a theoretical conceptualization into which these approaches are logically integrated. Empirical evidence concerning the behavior on which approaches or styles are based varies widely and includes sources of power that a supervisor might use (Holloway, 1995); the supervisor relationship or working alliance (Martin, Garske. & Davis, 2000); and what Neufeldt, Beutler, and Ranchero (1997) described as social influence attributes (e.g., expertness, trustworthiness, and attractiveness). It may be assumed, as advocated by Bernard (I 997) and theorized by Stoltenberg, McNeill, and Delworth (1998) and Holloway (1995), that a counselor supervisor may begin with an expectation of a style of supervision to use, but the decision whether to use it and other styles depends on the supervisee's needs and the context of the supervision experience. An examination of this process from the point of view of both the supervisor and the supervisee was the purpose of the present study.

The literature describing approaches to providing supervision (often termed style, function, or role of supervision, depending on the theorist) has been summarized by Bernard and Goodyear (I 992). They found that the styles counselor-therapist and teacher were most often cited in the supervision literature, followed by consultant and then monitor-evaluator. Styles seem to include the terms tasks or functions (Holloway, 1995; Stoltenberg et al., 1998) and role (Bernard, 1997). The term style was used in the present study and is in agreement with the conceptualization of Ladany, Walker, and Melincoff (2001), whose definition of supervision styles includes not only the "distinctive manner of responding to supervisees" but also the "different approaches the supervisors use" (p. 263).

A line of research has identified support and direction as supervisor behavior that underlies all of the various styles of supervision (Bernard, 1997; Blocher, 1983; Holloway & Hosford, 1983; Steward, Breland, & Nell, 2001; Stoltenberg et al., 1998; Worthington & Roehlke, 1979). Support refers to those behaviors that show empathy and build rapport with the supervisee. Direction refers to those behaviors that question, instruct, or challenge the supervisee. By understanding the relationship of support and direction with the approaches to providing supervision, counselor educators and supervisors may be better able to teach students to use these approaches and to evaluate their effectiveness.

A model that uses support and direction to describe the counseling process is the Adaptive Counseling and Therapy (ACT) model (Howard, Nance, & Myers, 1986, 1987; Nance, 1995). This model was based on the work of Hershey and Blanchard (1977), who described the concepts of relationship behavior and task behavior. In their classic work, Blake and Mouton (1964) called these behaviors concern for people and concern for production Blanchard and Johnson (1982) used the terms support and direction, which are two of Blocher's (1983) seven necessary behaviors for an effective learning environment. The ACT model contains four styles (telling, teach/ru3, supporting, and delegating). Each style is based on the amount of direction and support displayed by the counselor to the client. …

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