Clinical supervision goals include encouraging supervisee professional development and safeguarding the client welfare. These goals are partially met by supervisee disclosure of personal and professional content to their respective supervisors. Feelings of shame and fear of poor supervisory evaluations, however, have been reported to be contributing factors to supervisees choosing to actively refrain from disclosing information to their supervisors. In response to reports of non-disclosure, the present study investigated how supervisors approach supervisee personal disclosures in supervision including their opinions of what constitutes appropriate disclosure, factors contributing to their views of appropriateness, and how they respond to supervisee personal self-disclosures. Experienced supervisors were invited to participate through email invitations distributed via training directors of local training sites as well as through list-serv postings to professional clinical practice online forums. Nine participants who met inclusion criteria were invited to participate in an individual semi-structured interview lasting approximately 45-minutes to 1-hour. The interview protocol investigated five research questions focusing on: definitions of personal self-disclosures, supervisor classifications of the appropriateness of different examples of supervisee personal self-disclosure, factors influencing their categorizations, actions supervisors take or opt out of taking towards such disclosures, and their recommendations for managing personal self-disclosures. Consensual qualitative research methodology was used to analyze interview data and draw conclusions (CQR; Hill, 2012). Results revealed participants as a whole struggled to separate purely personal disclosures from professional, clinical references. Also, most supervisee personal disclosures were regarded as generally appropriate. Discussion of supervisor expectations concerning personal disclosures in supervision primarily occurred indirectly either through supervisor modeling of self-disclosure or by discussing personal disclosures as they occurred. The results of this study support the need for supervisors to articulate their expectations regarding personal self-disclosure and for further research to clarify various types of supervisee self-reference.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2014. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Patricia McCarthy Veach. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 117 pages.
Is it all grist for the mill?: Supervisor experiences with supervisee personal self-disclosure in supervision.
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