Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Factor Structure of the Psychotherapy Supervisor Development Scale

Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

Factor Structure of the Psychotherapy Supervisor Development Scale

Article excerpt

The goodness of fit of 3 models of factor structure of the Psychotherapy Supervisor Development Scale (PSDS; C. E. Watkins, L. J. Schneider, J. Haynes, & R. Nieberding, 1995) were examined using a sample of counseling supervisors. The results indicated that the factor structure of the PSDS was largely consistent with the original 4-factor model developed on a sample of psychotherapy supervisors.


For nearly 20 years, developmental models of supervision have offered a vehicle for conceptualizing the change process that occurs within supervisors as they gain experience in supervision (Hess, 1986; Stoltenberg, McNeill, & Delworth, 1998; Watkins, 1990). Supervisor development models are grounded in the assumptions that (a) supervisors progress through definitive, sequential stages of supervisory skill and role acquisition and (b) supervisor developmental progression has implications for supervision training as well as the quality of supervision provided to a supervisee (Watkins, 1990).

A model of supervisor development that has spawned a modest amount of attention in the literature is the Supervisor Complexity Model (SCM; Watkins, 1990). The SCM proposes that as supervisors gain experience, they develop in the areas of self-efficacy, commitment to performing supervision, feelings of supervisory role acquisition, and awareness of the importance supervision plays in professional identity and development. According to the SCM, changes in these areas of supervisor development occur in four stages: role shock, role recovery and transition, role consolidation, and role mastery. During the first stage, role shock, the supervisor struggles with defining his or her professional identity and establishing appropriate boundaries in supervision. Tentativeness, insecurity, and anxiety are prevalent during this phase of supervisor development. The second stage, role recovery and transition, is characterized by the development of a more realistic perception of one's identity as a supervisor. Some self-efficacy develops, but it is typically coupled with a moderate amount of tension and anxiety over one's new role. In the third stage, role consolidation, the supervisor begins to see him- or herself as a genuinely capable resource for supervisees and as qualified to perform supervision. Finally, during the fourth stage, role mastery, the belief that one is a source of consistently effective, competent, and professionally responsible supervision becomes a key theme in supervisor self-conceptualization (Watkins, 1990).

Although models of supervisor development offer useful heuristics for understanding the experiences of supervisors, they have been criticized for their lack of empirical support (Watkins, 1995; Worthington, 1987). In an attempt to address this concern, Watkins, Schneider, Haynes, and Nieberding (1995) operationalized the SCM of supervisor development through development of the Psychotherapy Supervisor Development Scale (PSDS), an 18-item measure of supervisor development. Items on the PSDS are answered using a 7-point Likert format (1 = never to 7 = always), with higher scores indicating higher levels of development.

Development of the PSDS represents a significant step toward validating the theoretical assumptions outlined in the SCM. The PSDS possesses good internal consistency, with an alpha coefficient of .93 for the sample used in this study. A principal components analysis (PCA) of the PSDS, based on data gathered from 335 psychotherapy supervisors (sampled from the American Psychological Association's Division of Psychotherapy) revealed that the underlying structure of the PSDS consisted of four factors, each reflecting the key areas of psychotherapy supervisor development posited by the SCM: Competence/Effectiveness, Identity/Commitment, Self-Awareness, and Sincerity in Supervisory Role (Watkins et al., 1995). In addition to the analysis of the internal structure of the PSDS, Watkins et al. …

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