Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Growing Together: A Developmental Model for Training School Counseling Site Supervisors

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Growing Together: A Developmental Model for Training School Counseling Site Supervisors

Article excerpt

Counselors-in-training (CITs), as part of their practicum and internship experiences in the schools, receive supervision from counseling program faculty and school counselors serving as site supervisors. For many, this is the first and last clinical supervision they receive during their school counseling career. Unfortunately, most school counselors have had no formal training in supervision (DeKruyf & Pehrsson, 2011). In a recent study (Uellendahl & Tenenbaum, 2015), only one quarter of the school counselor participants indicated they felt prepared by their training programs from "moderate" to "great extent" for their role as a site supervisor. Therefore, most school counselors rely on their previous experiences as interns and the evaluative supervision provided by building administrators in determining their role as a supervisor. This supports a call for providing effective supervision training for school counselors.

Since 2006, when a special section of Counselor Education and Supervision focused on supervision in schools (Miller & Dollarhide, 2006), the literature has indicated a professional interest in models, methods, and effectiveness of school counseling supervision. In a content analysis of articles about counseling clinical supervision between 2005 and 2014 (Bernard & Luke, 2015), the most prominent specialty area was school counseling, which accounted for 44% of the 36 identified articles. The literature embraces clinical supervision as necessary in meeting the professional development needs of school counselors-in-training and school counselors. Despite the need for more clinical supervision training, evidence is lacking that training is being provided.

The purpose of the present practical action research was to engage in collaborative inquiry to better understand school counselor site supervisor training based on the collective efforts of school districts, school counselors, and school counselor educators in the Northern Virginia area. School counseling district leaders and school counselor educators identified the need for supervision training to assist in the effective and ethical preparation of school counselors-in-training during their practicum and internship experiences. The first two authors created a model for supervision training to meet the need; it is the basis of this research.


Three types of supervision have been identified: administrative, program, and clinical (Roberts & Borders, 1994). Administrative supervision is evaluative and generally is provided by an administrator within the building. Program supervision ensures the delivery of a comprehensive developmental school counseling program and is led by a school counseling director much like a department chair. Clinical supervision for school counselors and school counselors-in-training is "the rarest...and the most necessary" (Cinotti, 2014, p. 422) of the three types of supervision. Clinical supervision ensures ethical counseling practice and intentional induction into the profession. Further, school counselors have indicated that they prefer counselor-trained supervisors; however, the majority of supervision is provided by building administrators (i.e., administrative supervision; Page, Pietrzak, & Sutton, 2001).

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; 2016) established Standards for supervision (Section 3): qualifications for program faculty and site supervisors that include site supervisors having "relevant training in counseling supervision" (P.5.), methods as individual/triadic and group, and weekly interactions that average one hour per week for individual/triadic and 1½ hours per week for group. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) School Counselor Competencies (2012b) includes three mentions of supervision with one specific to providing "supervision for school counseling interns consistent with the principles of the ASCA National Model" (IV-B-6c) but no specific reference to competencies as a supervisor. …

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