Ethics and Law for School Psychologists

By Susan Jacob; Dawn M. Decker et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES
IN SUPERVISION

Supervision can occur in a variety of settings (school, hospital, mental health clinic) and for a variety of different purposes. School psychologists may serve as supervisors of interns or of practitioners seeking full certification or licensure; and, in larger school districts with more than one psychologist, they may assume a supervisory role as lead psychologist or director of school psychological services (Harvey, Struzziero, & Desai, 2014). The goal of this chapter is to provide an introduction to some of the ethical and legal issues associated with field-based supervision of interns and beginning practitioners in a school setting.

Goodyear and Rodolfa (2012) defined clinical supervision as

an intervention that is provided by a more senior member of a profession to a more junior
member of the profession, is evaluative, extends over time, and has the simultaneous
purposes of helping the supervisee develop professionally in addition to protecting the
vulnerable public. (p. 261)

In clinical supervision, unlike consultation, the supervisor has ultimate responsibility for client welfare (Knapp & VandeCreek, 1997). “When supervising graduate students’ field experiences or internships, school psychologists are responsible for the work of their supervisees” (NASP-PPE II.2.4). The supervisor is ethically obligated to take steps to ensure that supervisees “perform services responsibly, competently, and ethically” (Knapp & VandeCreek, 1997, p. 591; also APA-EP 2.05; NASP-PPE II.2.4, IV.4.2). Some differences exist, however, in the supervisor’s role and duties depending on the level of training of the supervisee. The supervisor assumes greater control, and is obligated to provide more intensive supervision, to interns and other trainees who do not hold a credential to practice when compared to supervisees with a preliminary credential who are pursuing full certification or licensure (Knapp & VandeCreek, 1997).

A supervisor’s role may include clinical supervision (working with supervisees to promote skill development) and/or administrative functions (providing effective leadership and management of school psychological services, hiring, delegating work assignments, evaluation of job performance for contract renewal) (Harvey et al., 2014). Some psychologists routinely assume both roles, particularly those who serve as lead psychologist or director of psychological services. Numerous legal issues are associated with hiring employees, employee performance evaluation, and contract renewal or nonrenewal that are beyond the scope of this book. Interested readers are referred to Harvey and Struzziero (2008) and Russo (2012).

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