Utilizing Supervision for Supporting Home-Based Family Therapy Module

Module Sections:

Supervision Dilemmas Continued

Supervisor Access to Observing Therapy

The nature of HBFT taking place in the family's home limits the supervisor's access to direct observation of the therapist's work with the family. Fifty-one percent of therapists involved in the HBFT Partnership report that supervisors never accompany them on home visits and 41% report supervisors accompany them once per year (see Figure 3). Therapists have also reported that their supervisors would most likely accompany them on a home visit if requested (Macchi & O'Conner, 2005-2008).

Assuming that most therapists do not videotape or audio record their sessions, the supervisor's limited access to raw data of therapy sessions suggests that most supervision is conducted as self-report or case consultation. Storm, Todd, Sprenkle, & Morgan (2001) note that there are differences of opinion among supervisors as to their preferences for each type of supervision. They note that each has merit and, used together, could offer diverse experiences for enhancing the supervision process.

Figure 3 - Percentage of supervisor-accompanied visits to homesFigure 3 - Percentage of supervisor-accompanied visits to homes

Supervisor HBFT Experience

Therapists describe the challenges that arise when they are seeking supervision from a supervisor who does not have HBFT experience. While the supervisor may still draw from clinical and supervisory experience to provide support and oversight of the clinician's work, the unique experiences of the home environment offer additional challenges to the supervisory process. To overcome these obstacles, a supervisor and supervisee can review two articles* (Macchi, O'Conner, & Petersen, 2008; Stinchfield, 2004) followed by subsequent discussions about the unique challenges of providing HBFT. As stated earlier, we would encourage the therapist to also request that the supervisor accompany him/her on a home visit.

Contextual Challenges

White & Russell (1995) and Storm et al. (2001) describe the importance of a supervisor and supervisee intentionally attending to the varying contexts of supervision and therapy. A lack of awareness of varying contexts leads to blind spots and biases that undermine the quality and effectiveness of supervisory support. They note the need for supervisor, supervisee, and family awareness of values empowers and supports each one involved. They further suggest the need for clarity of policies and procedures that support growth and development throughout the supervisory and therapeutic processes. A prime example of a supportive environment is inherent in a clear supervisory contract explicitly addressing the supervisor's and supervisee's expectations for supervision (Prouty et al., 2001).

*Links to (Macchi, O'Conner, & Petersen, 2008; Stinchfield, 2004) can be found in the resource section at the bottom of this page.

Audio Companion: Utilizing Supervision