Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Phenomenological Study: The Experience of Live Supervision during a Pre-Practicum Counseling Techniques Course

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Phenomenological Study: The Experience of Live Supervision during a Pre-Practicum Counseling Techniques Course

Article excerpt

A primary task when obtaining a master's degree in counselor education is learning the basic skills of counseling; yet, research is lacking that could potentially inform the work of counselor educators with regard to the best educational format in which to teach these skills. Woodard and Lin (1999) described the pre-practicum class as integral to bridging the gap between course work and clinical work (practicum and internship), so it seems important to explore the various venues through which the skills are taught. They also contended that pre-practicum introduces students to counselor identity as well as aids in the successful transition between course work and clinical work given the focus on basic counseling skills (Woodard & Lin, 1999). These skills are often known as the micro-skills and include: attending behaviors, reflection of feeling, paraphrasing, summarizing, questions for clarification, open questions, focusing, theme development, immediacy, and confrontation (Brammer & MacDonald, 1999; Egan, 1998; Ivey, 1994). Given that these skills are considered the foundation of counseling (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004; Eagan, 1998; Furr & Carroll, 2003; Ivey, 1994; Woodard & Lin, 1999), one would assume that research would exist regarding the instruction of these skills; however, there is dearth of counselor education research regarding the instruction of these skills, particularly in live supervision formats (Hoffman & Hill, 1996; Woodard & Lin, 1999; Woodside, Oberman, Cole, & Carruth, 2007).

It has been more than ten years since published studies exploring live supervision use and delivery methods in the field of counselor education has been conducted. The research at that time revealed that live supervision was being used at an increasing rate by counselor training programs (Bubenzer, West, & Gold, 1991; Freeman & McHenry, 1996; Hoffman & Hill, 1996). For example, Bubenzer et al. reported that at least 51% of master's programs and 57% of doctoral programs in counselor education programs used live supervision practices in training. Seventy-five percent of these programs indicated that live supervision was used on a weekly basis. Freeman and McHenry utilized a survey to identify what counselor educators from CACREP (Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) accredited programs perspectives were regarding ideal functions, methods, goals, supervisor roles, as well as influences of theory and research in clinical supervision. The survey, which included two open-ended questions, was mailed to 554 counselor educators. Three hundred and twenty surveys were returned. Two hundred and fifty seven respondents (78%) indicated that live supervision was a very important function of clinical supervision. This finding, in conjunction with the fact that 78% of counselor educators use live supervision as preferred method of supervision, suggests the importance of using live supervision as a training method for teaching clinical skills in classes such as pre-practicum.

Research has also explored students' experience of live supervision, but very little has been written that is specific to live supervision during pre-practicum. Studies have explored live supervision, but covered a range of contexts such as pre-practicum, group counseling, and practicum (Champe, 2004, Woodside, et al., 2007); however, these studies did not specifically address the context of pre-practicum. In an effort to increase understanding of the experience of live supervision during pre-practicum, a phenomenological case study of three pre-practicum students was selected as a means of inquiry. This study was designed to answer the question, "What are the experiences of live supervision during pre-practicum class?" For the purpose of this article, live supervision is defined as directly observing the counseling session and interacting with the session through a live supervision method (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004). …

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