Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Site Supervisors of Professional School Counseling Interns: Suggested Guidelines

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Site Supervisors of Professional School Counseling Interns: Suggested Guidelines

Article excerpt

Supervision of interns in site-placement environments is an inherent and vital aspect in the helping professions (Anderson, Rigazio-DiGilio, & Kunkler, 1995; Baird, 1999; Bernard & Goodyear, 1992; Boylan, Malley, & Scott, 1995; Bradley, 1989; Granello & Hazler, 1998; Kaiser, 1997; McCarthy, DeBell, Kanuha, & McLeod, 1988; Patrick, 1989; Romans, Boswell, Carlozzi, & Ferguson, 1995; Smith, 1995; Tarvydas, 1995; Toews & Dykeman, 1994). Counselors-in-training must learn how to transfer theory and skills learned in the controlled environment of the university counselor training program into real-world practice. Sutton and Page (1994) noted that supervision "bridges the gap between the basic counseling competence developed in counselor education programs and the advanced skills necessary for complex or acute cases encountered in the reality of the work setting" (p. 33). In sum, the on-site experiential components of the counselor education program should be the apex of the intern learning experience, wherein student competencies, program teaching, skills acquisition, and site supervisor mentoring merge to mold the novice counselor into the best that one can be at the conclusion of that stage of professional development.

Much literature exists detailing the importance of supervision and the role of the supervisor in developing counselors-in-training. The literature is void, however, on two main points. First, the literature focuses on supervision and training almost exclusively as is provided in university and college settings by university and college personnel for their students (Bradley, 1989; Ellis, 1991; Freeman & McHenry, 1996; Friedlander & Snyder, 1983; Haring-Hidore & Vacc, 1988; Ladany, Ellis, & Friedlander, 1999; Ladany, Hill, Corbett, & Nutt, 1996; Morran, Kurpius, Brack, & Brack, 1995; Prieto, 1998; Romans et al., 1995; Wantz & Morran, 1994; Worthen & McNeil, 1996) or on detailing the dilemmas and importance of providing programmatic and continuing postdegree supervision for school counseling practitioners and the problems associated with such postdegree supervision (Crutchfield & Borders, 1997; Crutchfield et al., 1997; Henderson & Gysbers, 1998; Henderson & Lampe, 1992; Kern, 1996; Roberts & Borders, 1994; Schechtman & Wirzberger, 1999; Sutton & Page, 1994; Williamson, 1999). Second, little, if any, literature exists directed specifically at the unique challenges faced by the site supervisors hosting professional school counseling interns (Kahn, 1999).

This article addresses the issues distinctive to the supervision of school counseling interns by practitioners asked to provide on-site supervision. Guidelines are suggested to facilitate site supervisors, university supervisors, and professional school counseling interns in the academic and collegial relationships which must be in place to assist school counselor trainees into the matriculation of the profession.

Defintion of Terms

The term supervision is defined as a formal, contractual relationship between university faculty and other designated members of a specific profession, the term supervisors refers to those who are appropriately degreed, licensed or certified, and experienced to provide mentorship and directional instruction to individuals desiring to become members of that profession. Such supervision is conjoined between the university or college supervisor and the designated site supervisor to better serve the individual being supervised. The purpose of supervision is to foster the professional growth and effectiveness of the counselor-in-training.

The word intern refers to the individual being supervised for entry into the profession. The intern is at an advanced state in one's program of study, usually in the final year of meeting program, licensure, or degree requirements. Interns are required to spend considerable time on-site working with clientele relevant to their final program of study. …

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