Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER COUNSELING GROUP SUPERVISION: A New Approach in Master's Level Counseling Programs

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

CAREER COUNSELING GROUP SUPERVISION: A New Approach in Master's Level Counseling Programs

Article excerpt

Counselor trainee supervision, an important gatekeeping process during the university training experience has two main goals. The most important goal is to protect clients' welfare (American Counseling Association (ACA), 2014). Another goal is to foster supervisee agency in areas of counseling skills, counseling knowledge, and self-esteem (Crocket et al., 2009; Gray & Smith, 2009). Furthermore, through supervision trainees learn experientially to conceptualize the intertwined and overlapping nature of career and mental health concerns, a skill much needed for effective counseling (Niles, 2014; Patton & McMahon, 2014).

A variety of theories and models for conducting counselor trainee supervision exist (see Bernard, 1979; Falender & Shafranske, 2004; Holloway, 1995; Hoppin & Goodman, 2014; Lambers, 2000; Loganbill, Hardy, & Delworth;1987; and others). When counselor trainees encounter multiple supervisors drawing from different theoretical models or when supervisors eclectically select pieces from different supervision theories, supervisees may see different types of theories modeled for them. However, variety may come at the cost of supervisee confusion. The approach presented here combines narrative therapy, outsider-witnessing groups, and client-centered supervision (referred to from here forward as supervisee-centered outsider-witnessing career group supervision (SCOWCGS). In this article, authors provide the rationale for SCOWCGS' theoretical base and illustrate the outsider-witnessing process in a case study. Furthermore, the case study will demonstrate the intertwined nature of career and mental health concerns.

SCOWCGS Overview

SCOWCGS combines narrative, group work, person-centered concepts already familiar to trainees. SCOWCGS focuses on the experience co-constructed between the supervisee and client from the supervisees' perspective. The benefit of this approach is that counselor trainees use and practice their familiar micro skills and group work skills while layering on the conceptual framework of a supervision process, thereby preparing them to benefit from group supervision. This group supervision process can be implemented in triadic supervision, as well as in larger group formats.

Furthermore, this supervision approach capitalizes on occurrences of parallel process. Loganbill, Hardy, and Delworth (1987) described parallel process as instances in supervision when the relationship between the supervisor and supervisee resembles the relationship between the counselor and client. Koltz and Feit (2012) suggested that through parallel process students experience being in the role of counselor, observer (outsider-witness), and 'client' simultaneously. Parallel process creates the opportunity for counseling trainees to learn more than one task at a time through the single supervision process. In summary, SCOWCGS scaffolds new concepts over trainees' experiences and provides a deep learning experience enhancing students' skills development, supervision experience, and overall training.


Outsider-witnessing has roots in narrative therapy and Myerhoff's definitional ceremony work (see Myerhoff, 1992). White (1995) began using outsider-witnessing groups for the purpose of enriching and assisting in the restructuring of clients' stories toward their preferred stories. Individuals from varying backgrounds made up traditional outsider-witness groups, due to White's belief that each person's experience brings value and enrichment into the therapeutic process. As outsider-witnesses, the group observes the therapy session between counselor and client from a different room. The group becomes an "outsider" by being removed to another room; however, they are still "witnessing" what is taking place in the session (White). The focus of attention shifts to the group of outsider-witnesses once a natural break occurs in the therapy session. The four tasks for outsider-witnesses are to (1) identify the image, (2) identify the expression, (3) identify the resonance, and (4) identify the transport from the narrative that was just shared (Walther & Fox, 2012). …

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