Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

A Developmental Model of Supervisee Religious and Spiritual Development

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

A Developmental Model of Supervisee Religious and Spiritual Development

Article excerpt

Discussion of religious and spiritual (RS) issues in clinical settings has proliferated in recent years. However, there is comparatively little research on RS issues within the clinical supervision setting. A few authors have proposed models for the supervision of RS in clinical settings, but further discussion of the issue and tested models are needed. It is toward this end the current article endeavors. The authors propose a developmental model for supervision of RS issues, paralleling the developmental theories of Kohlberg (1981) and Fowler (1981) with the clinical development of supervisees. Data from a key informant survey of clinical supervisors lends support to the proposed model. Supervisors indicated they work with supervisees differently, depending on the supervisee's level of RS development.

Gallup polls as recent as 2003 have found that 01% of Americans view religion as a very important part of their life, and an additional 24% consider it fairly important (Newport, 2004). Despite religion's centrality in the lives of most Americans, a recent national survey of counselors found that "many counselors do not address religious or spiritual issues in their work with clients" (Young, Cashwell, Wiggins-Frame, & Belaire, 2002, p. 22). The GRRAACCES model was originally developed by Burnham (1993) as a way of promoting cultural competency in a supervisory setting. It was also recently described by Divac and Heaphy (2005) as part of their cultural competency training program. Some authors have applied concepts of diversity specifically to the supervision context (e.g., Burkard et al., 2000). However, there is comparatively little research on addressing RS issues within the clinical supervision setting. A few authors have proposed models for the supervision of RS in clinical settings (e.g., Aten & Hernandez, 2004), but further discussion of the issue and tested models are needed. Others have sought ways to promote specific training competencies in the area of religious and spiritual (RS) diversity (e.g., Hathaway, 2005).

Developmental Theory Applied to Religion and Spirituality in Clinical Supervision

The authors believe that developmental clinical supervision theories readily parallel empirically tested theories of moral and RS development. Thus we propose a developmental model for supervision of RS issues, paralleling the developmental theories of Kohlberg (1981, 1984) and Fowler (1981) with the clinical development of supervisees.

Kohlberg and Fowler's Theories Applied to Clinical Development and Supervision

Stage 1

Stage 1 of Kohlberg's theory. The first stage of Kohlberg's theory (Punishment and Obedience) emphasizes that the goodness or badness of behavior depends on the consequences of that behavior. Persons at this stage evaluate the Tightness or wrongness of behavior via strict rules of what is punished and what is not punished. In the same way, new clinicians often think in terms of the consequences of their behavior. They are commonly afraid of being "punished" by their supervisors and thus may appear highly anxious in supervision (Borders & Brown, 2005).

Stage 1 of Fowler's theory. Persons in Stage 1 of Fowler's theory (Intuitive-Projective Faitb) demonstrate a significant amount of dependency on parental and other authority figures. They tend to demonstrate naïve cognitive egocentrism and usually lack perspective-taking ability. These individuals emphasize imagination and stories as the mechanisms of understanding and expressing RS beliefs (Fowler, 1981; Fowler & Dell, 2000).

As it relates to RS issues in the clinical setting, clinicians in Fowler's Stage 1 may be afraid of addressing RS issues "wrongly." They will probably be somewhat dependent on their supervisor for clear guidelines as to how to address RS issues (Loganbill, Hardy, & Delworth, 1982). They also will likely be rigid in how they address such issues.

Supervisees in the stage 1 combination. …

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