Supervision Resources

Supervision Resources

Helpful Tips for Supervisors based on Current Research

Helpful tips for supervisors by article

  • Adams, J. F., & Maynard, P. F. (2000). Evaluating training needs for home-based family therapy: A focus group approach. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28, pg. 41-52.
      • Supervisors might seek more specific training in areas relevant to in-home therapy. In-home therapists trained to handle issues related to child sexual abuse reported still feeling inadequately trained because their supervisors themselves were not adequately trained in this area.
      • Therapists had concerns about stirring things up and then having to leave.  Supervisors might help therapists make a plan to calm things down before leaving the space.
      • Supervisors could take a more active role in orienting therapists to agency protocol regarding crisis and safety issues, especially involving children.
      • Participants felt that agency supervisors were in a unique position to enhance student training by providing education and opportunities to interact with the juvenile justice system and family courts in matters such as wayward petitions and probation. As well as in other topics such as: normal adolescent development, ADHD and substance abuse.
      • Provide guidelines from the agency on how to incorporate sex abuse treatment within the family preservation philosophy and where to place sex abuse in the treatment planning when it is not identified as the reason for referral.
      • More attention could be paid to the impact of service delivery on therapists’ expectations of their own performance. Many therapists acknowledged feelings of inadequacy and fears of not helping families, which could be addressed in supervision.
      • Poor morale may require more vigilance by supervisors in any situation in which therapists are reluctant to disclose it. Especially given the high stress levels of therapists delivering home-based services.
      • Supervisors might seek to expand the “child-focused” policy of the preservation model to include a more family systems perspective.
  • Celano, M. P., Smith, C. O., & Kaslow, N. J. (2010). A competency-based approach to couple and family therapy supervision. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 47(1), pg. 35-44.
      • Integrative supervision supports trainees’ efforts to develop a wide repertoire of competencies and a conceptual frame for identifying which interventions to apply to meet a family’s needs.
      • Supervisors can help trainees develop a systemic formulation by asking trainees how session content informs or extends the systemic formulation of the case.
      • The use of raw data, live observation or videotape, is preferred because it helps evaluate the quality of the developing therapeutic alliance. This can also be used to demonstrate how to develop, enhance, and repair an alliance.
      • Supervision can help trainees understand reframing in the context of a given model by modeling, and practice reframing.
      • Negative family interactions are important to address early in supervision, as they heighten trainees’ anxiety and potential to avoid or distort related clinical material. To help trainees become more comfortable supervisors can demonstrate how to do so and allow trainees to practice in role-plays and giving them important feedback.
      • It is important for the supervisor to consider the trainee’s readiness to implement essential CFT components.
  • Morgan, M. M., & Sprenkle, D. H. (2007). Toward a common-factors approach to supervision. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33(1), pg. 1-17.
      • The authors point out a couple common factors supervision across different theoretical models should attend to: development of clinical skills in supervisees, help supervisees acquire knowledge about client dynamics/clinical theories/intervention strategies, how supervisees function as professionals – their compliance with professional practice and ethical standards and administrative duties.
      • Another important area for supervision to be aware of is personal growth, awareness and emotional management of the supervisee. As well as autonomy and confidence.
      • The authors state that supervisors are not only responsible for their individual supervisees but also to the profession or field as a whole.
      • Supervisors need to assist supervisees in learning about broad clinical theories with their accompanying interventions while helping them conceptualize individual cases.
      • The most pivotal and crucial component of good supervision experiences that was clearly evident in every case studied was the quality of the supervisory relationship.
  • Storm, C. L., Todd, T. C., Sprenkle, D. H., & Morgan, M. M. (2001). Gaps between MFT supervision assumptions and common practice: Suggested best practices. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27(2), pg. 227-239.
      • To be maximally effective as gatekeepers and to protect consumers, supervisors may need to join as a community. Pre-and-postgraduate supervisors can find ways to team up in setting criteria for new graduates, or supervisors can share supervisees’ progress as they transfer from one supervisor to another.
      • Because of the public and legal view that supervisors are overseeing supervisees’ entire caseloads it appears that best practice is to abide by the consensus and to insist that supervision is frequent and extensive enough that supervisors can responsibly oversee supervisees’ caseloads. An alternative approach is to limit the number of cases that the supervisees see, however, this may require significant changes in regulatory laws and professional contexts before it can be easily done.
      • Sharing by supervisors and supervisees of their contextual influences within supervision and asking how that contextually influences the supervisee’s cases promotes contextual sensitivity.
  • Karamat Ali, R., & Bachicha, D. L. (2012). Systemic supervision practices compared: A closer look at ‘reflection’ and ‘self’ in multisystemic therapy and family therapy supervision. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), pg. 192-207.
      • Therapists doing in-home work have different challenges than those who see clients in an office so the clinical supervisor needs to become sensitive to and curious about the “whole experience” of doing in-home family therapy. Enquiries about therapists’ more visceral responses need to become a greater part of the clinical supervisor’s repertoire to provide the support needed.
      • It is advantageous for MST supervisors to have had direct personal experience in home visitation. But at least be aware of the specific challenges and opportunities thereof.
      • The supervisor is not the therapist. They can be described as “a one-removed influencer of therapeutic change."
      • The various supervisory tasks within the MST approach are about helping MST therapists to adhere to the model by closely following the analytical process. Apart from the specific tasks that accompany home visitation, such as safety planning, the MST supervisor is required to be able to take a helicopter view of both a case and the therapeutic system, including the therapist’s needs.