Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Rehabilitation Counseling Supervision: Past, Present, and Future
Katie A. Wachtel, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
What is the purpose of this literature review?
There has been significant controversy regarding whether rehabilitation counseling (RC) should be considered a specialization of the counseling profession or its own unique profession. Proponents of the belief in RC as a unique profession have argued that this should include specialized definitions, models, standards, and practices for supervision. However, despite this belief, supervision has been largely ignored in both the research and practice of RC. Recent revisions to RC ethical standards and research findings in the area of RC supervision, summarized below, may prove impactful on the way in which rehabilitation counselors conceptualize and practice supervision.
Major findings or points:
A review of the literature indicated that prior to 1995 there was no distinct definition or model for supervision within the rehabilitation context, despite arguments that the nature of RC warrants distinctive supervision interventions. Maki and Delworth (1995) proposed a definition and model unique to RC; however, ethical guidelines for RC supervision were not established until 2002. Requirements of specialized training in supervision, use of a variety of evaluation methods, documentations of sessions, and multicultural competence were added in the 2010 revision of the ethical guidelines.
Despite the adoption of ethical standards related to supervision in RC, minimal research has been conducted in this area, and the few researchers who have examined supervision have found that clinical practices in supervision may still be lacking. Researchers have found that a majority of research on supervision in RC has been conducted using trainees so that little is known about supervision practices post graduation. Supervision continues to be an important part of professional development and can protect against a decrease in counseling skills; however, many supervisees in professional settings report only receiving supervision on an as-needed basis. Similarly, supervisees and supervisors alike consistently report confusion between administrative supervision and clinical supervision. Supervisees overwhelmingly report only receiving supervision as part of team meetings and report slight to moderate satisfaction with administrative supervision, but less than satisfactory feelings regarding clinical supervision. In addition, individuals who report lower satisfaction with supervision are often those reporting more frequent supervision. A majority of supervisors report little to no formal training in supervision. Based on these findings, it appears that clinical practice of supervision in RC is overall not perceived as effective and steps may need to be taken to improve supervision in professional RC settings.
What does this research mean for counseling practice, settings and/or training?
Although ethical standards for RC supervision have been established and revised, a majority of supervisors and supervisees continue to report dissatisfaction with supervision practices. It may be important to stress formal training of supervisors using the models developed specifically for RC to assist supervisors in better understanding and implementing supervision practices. Supervisees may benefit from the adoption of ethical standards in that they will allow supervision to encompass specific expectations and goals. This can help to add structure and understanding to the supervision process, which may assist both the supervisee and supervisor in feeling more positively about the experience.
Rehabilitation counseling, supervision
For Further Reading:
Blackwell, T. L., Strohmer, D. C., Belcas, E. M., & Burton, K. A. (2002). Ethics in rehabilitation counselor supervision. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 45, 240-247.
Glosoff, H. L., & Matrone, K. F. (2010). Ethical issues in rehabilitation counselor supervision and the new 2010 Code of Ethics. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 53(4), 249-254. doi:10.1177/0034355210368729
Herbert, J. T., & Trusty, J. (2006). Clinical supervision practices and satisfaction within the public vocational rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 49, 66-80.
Maki, D. R., & Delworth, U. (1995). Clinical supervision: A definition and model for the rehabilitation counseling profession. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 38, 282-294.
McCarthy, A. K. (2013). Relationship between supervisory working alliance and client outcomes in state vocational rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 57, 23-30.
Schultz, J. C., Ososkie, J. N., Fried, J. H., Nelson, R. E., & Bardos, A. N. (2002). Clinical supervision in public rehabilitation counseling settings. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 45, 213-222.
Thielsen, V. A., & Leahy, M. J. (2001). Essential knowledge and skills for effective clinical supervision in rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 44, 196-208.
Wilkinson, A. D., & Wagner, R. M. (1993). Supervisory leadership styles and state vocational rehabilitation counselor job satisfaction and productivity. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 37, 15-25.