Multicultural Group Supervision: A Comparison of In-Person versus Web-Based Formats

By Gainor, Kathy A.; Constantine, Madonna G. | Professional School Counseling, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Multicultural Group Supervision: A Comparison of In-Person versus Web-Based Formats


Gainor, Kathy A., Constantine, Madonna G., Professional School Counseling


Despite the need for adequate supervision for school counselor trainees, there are limited supervision opportunities for school counselor trainees (Roberts & Borders, 1994). Group supervision is an effective means of providing clinical supervision to several school counselor trainees concurrently (Borders, 1991; Van Horn & Myrick, 2001). Although utilization of a peer supervision group has been shown to be helpful to both school counselor trainees and professionals (e.g., Agnew, Vaught, Getz, & Fortune, 2000; Kern, 1996), a paucity of empirical studies has documented this efficacy (Starling & Baker, 2000).

For school counselor trainees, peer supervision groups that address multicultural issues may complement the contemporary focus on multicultural issues in many school counselor programs (Constantine, 2001; Hobson & Kanitz, 1996). Attention to multicultural issues in school counselor education programs has been necessitated by the growing diversity of school systems in large urban cities across the United States (Constantine et al., 2001). Over the past few decades, multicultural counseling competence has represented an important goal for many school counselor education programs in order to prepare their trainees to work effectively with diverse cultural populations (Holcomb-McCoy, 2001). Multicultural counseling competence refers to counselors' attitudes/ beliefs, knowledge, and skills in working with individuals from various cultural groups (Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). Although previous research has found that school counselors and school counselor trainees with higher levels of formal multicultural counseling education (e.g., coursework and workshops) reported greater amounts of self-perceived multicultural counseling competence (Constantine, 2001), little research has examined the role of multicultural supervision in increasing school counselor trainees' self-reported multicultural counseling competence. There is also an absence of research that has explored the impact of receiving multicultural counseling supervision on aspects of school counselor trainees' demonstrated multicultural counseling competence.

One aspect of demonstrated multicultural counseling competence is the ability to identify and integrate cultural factors into conceptualizations of the etiology and treatment of clients' presenting concerns (i.e., multicultural case conceptualization ability). Conceptualizing clients from a multicultural perspective indicates that school counselor trainees are aware of and can integrate information about various cultural factors into clients' presenting issues and, subsequently, identify an appropriate treatment plan for working with clients based on this information (Constantine & Ladany, 2000). Multicultural case conceptualization ability is comprised of two distinct, but interrelated, dimensions. The first factor or conceptualization is based on school counselor trainees' recognition of factors that may be contributing to the etiology of students' problems. The second conceptualization is based on their thoughts about what might be an effective treatment focus or plan for addressing students' difficulties. These conceptualizations may become increasingly complex as school counselor trainees make associations between and among hypothesized etiologies of presenting concerns and, accordingly, integrate these data into treatment plans (Constantine & Gushue, in press). School counselor trainees' ability to perceive and conceptualize cultural information in a complex and sophisticated manner would have important implications for their ability to work effectively with culturally diverse students. Hence, receiving multicultural supervision presumably would affect these trainees' multicultural case conceptualization ability.

Although the advantages of receiving individual multicultural supervision have been extensively documented (e.g., Constantine, 1997; Duan & Roehlke, 2001), there also may be several advantages to using peer group supervision formats to address multicultural issues with school counselor trainees. …

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