Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Measuring the Supervisory Relationship: A Critical Review of Instruments
By: Jodi L. Bartley
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The supervisory relationship is an important component of supervision (Borders & Brown, 2005; Ladany & Muse-Burke, 2001); however, it is a complex, and multifaceted construct, and thus it can be difficult to measure. Below is a summary description of seven instruments that can be used by supervisors and supervisees to measure the supervisory relationship in both clinical practice and clinical research settings.

Supervisor (SPRS-R) and Trainee (TPRS-R) Personal Reaction Scales – Revised
·      Authors: Holloway and Wampold, 1984
·      Intended Audience: Supervisors (SPRS-R) and Supervisees (TPRS-R)
·      Number of Items: 12 items each, anchored on 5-point Likert scales from 1 = not characteristic of my present feelings to 5 = highly characteristic of my present feelings.
·      Scales: Evaluation of Other, Evaluation of Self, and Level of Comfort (for both versions)

Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory for Supervisory Relationships (BLRI-S)
·      Authors: Schacht, Howe, and Berman, 1988
·      Intended Audience: Supervisees
·      Number of Items: 40 items anchored on a 6-point Likert scale from 1 = I strongly feel it is not true to 6 = I strongly feel it is true.
·      Scales: Regard, Unconditionality, Empathic Understanding, Congruence, and Willingness to be Known

Working Alliance Inventory/Supervision (WAI/S Supervisor and Supervisee Forms)
·      Author: Bahrick, 1990
·      Intended Audience: Supervisors and Supervisees
·      Number of Items: 36 items anchored on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = never to 7 = always.
·      Scales: Bond and Goals/Tasks.

Supervisory Working Alliance Inventory (SWAI Supervisor and Trainee Versions)
·      Authors: Efstation, Patton, and Kardash, 1990
·      Intended Audience: Supervisors and Supervisees
·      Number of Items: 23 items (supervisor version) and 19 items (supervisee version), written on 7-point Likert scales ranging from 1 = almost never to 7 = almost always.
·      Scales: Client Focus, Rapport, and Identification (supervisor version); and Rapport and Client Focus (supervisee version).

Supervisor Relating Style Inventory (SRSI)
·      Authors: Lizzio, Wilson, and Que, 2009
·      Intended Audience: Supervisees
·      Number of Items: 12 items, written on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1= not at all to 7 = very characteristic.
·      Scales: Support, Challenge, and Openness

Supervisory Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ)
·      Authors: Palomo, Beinart, and Cooper, 2010
·      Intended Audience: Supervisees
·      Number of Items: 67 items, written on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
·      Scales: Safe Base, Structure, Commitment, Reflective Education, Role Model, and Formative Feedback.

Supervisory Relationship Measure (SRM)
·      Authors: Pearce, Beinart, Clohessy, and Cooper, 2013
·      Intended Audience: Supervisors
·      Number of Items: 51 items, written on a 7-point Likert scale anchored from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree.
·      Scales: Safe Base, Supervisor’s Professional Commitment to Supervision, Trainee Contribution, External Influences, and Supervisor’s Emotional Investment.

            There are benefits and drawbacks to each of the measures; therefore, choosing one for research or practical purposes depends on a person’s intentions. If the intention is to use the measure in clinical research or to use it in clinical practice settings as part of a more comprehensive evaluation, the SRQ (for supervisees) and/or SRM (for supervisors) are recommended. These measures were developed specifically for the supervisory relationship, they are reliable and valid, and they include more items (67 and 51, respectively). In this way, they could provide a nuanced investigation of the relationship.
            On the other hand, if a person intends to use a measure for brief, more practical purposes, one of the shorter measures is recommended. The SRSI includes only 12 items and could be administered to supervisees after sessions to help supervisors gain insight into their balance of support, challenge, and openness in the relationship. The Working Alliance Inventories (the WAI/S and SWAI) are both a bit longer than the SRSI; however, they can be used with both supervisors and supervisees to gain perspective into the alliance of the supervisory relationship. The SPRS-R and TPRS-R are shorter measures like the SRSI; however, they are a bit outdated and were created based on characteristics of the therapeutic relationship. If the intention is solely to understand how a supervisee perceives the supervisor’s use of facilitative conditions, the BLRI-S is recommended.
Taken together, then, it is important that supervisors and clinicians identify their purpose for using the instruments and choose accordingly. Further research is needed to examine the construct of the supervisory relationship and the multiple aspects of that relationship. New research in this area could offer numerous implications for the effectiveness of supervisory practice as it relates to the strength of the supervisor-supervisee relationship.

FOR FURTHER READING  (*Measures reviewed)
*Bahrick, A. S. (1990). Role induction for counselor trainees: Effects on the Supervisory Working Alliance. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from
Borders, L. D., & Brown, L. L. (2005). The new handbook of counseling supervision. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
*Efstation, J. F., Patton, M. J., & Kardash, C. M. (1990). Measuring the working alliance in counselor supervision. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 37, 322-329. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.37.3.322
*Holloway, E. L., & Wampold, B. E. (1984). Dimensions of satisfaction in the supervision interview. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.
Ladany, N., & Muse-Burke, J. L. (2001). Understanding and conducting supervision research. In L. J. Bradley & N. Ladany (Eds.), Counselor supervision: Principles, process, and practice (3rd ed.) (pp. 304-329). Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge.
*Lizzio, A., Wilson, K., & Que, J. (2009). Relationship dimensions in the professional supervision of psychology graduates: Supervisee perceptions of processes and outcome. Studies in Continuing Education, 31, 127-140. doi:10.1080/01580370902927451
*Palomo, M., Beinart, H., & Cooper, M. J. (2010). Development and validation of the Supervisory Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ) in UK trainee clinical psychologists. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49, 131-149. doi:10.1348/014466509X441033
*Pearce, N., Beinart, H., Clohessy, S., & Cooper, M. (2013). Development and validation of the Supervisory Relationship Measure: A self-report questionnaire for use with supervisors. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 52, 249-268. doi:10.1111/bjc.12012
*Schacht, A. J., Howe, H. E., & Berman, J. J. (1988). A short form of the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory for supervisory relationships. Psychological Reports, 63, 699-706. doi:10.2466/pr0.1988.63.3.699

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