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Advantages and Disadvantages of Field-Based Supervision in Counseling
Practicum (Harper, H., Ritchie, M. ACES Spectrum, 69 (3), 2009)
1. Practicum experiences outside of the university setting must share supervision
with field supervisors and therefore may be less coordinated.
2. It is more difficult to video or audio record sessions.
3. Supervision is less concentrated in the field, occurring in small blocks of time over
the course of a day.
1. Students are out in the “real world” sooner.
2. Students have access to the clients that they intend to work with in their careers.
3. “Frontline” counselors are contributing to the development of the student
Field Based Supervision: Practical Concerns from a Field-Based Supervisor
(Guo, Y., Wang, S. ACES Spectrum, 69 (3), 2009)
1. Supervisors should emphasize that supervisees cannot make clinical judgments
about crisis situations, such as with suicidal and violent clients without direct input
from the supervisor.
2. Supervisors should meet supervisees prior to the first session and go over clinical
procedures and duties of the particular site. This orientation is crucial for student
interns since they lack experiences in clinical settings and their academic knowledge
has not been tested and integrated through clinical practices.
3. There is potential difficulty in the dual relationships emerging between
supervisor and supervisee. For example, supervisors must evaluate their
supervisees and report the results to the university. These evaluations can have an
effect on the future of the supervisee.
4. Field-based supervisors should develop a relationship with the university
Promoting Positive Counselor Identity through Counseling Field Placements
(Ponton, R. ACES Spectrum, 69 (3), 2009)
1. Positive practicum and internship experiences promotes the professional identity
of trainees, increase trainees’ confidence and resourcefulness, and leads to deeper
professional commitment.
2. Four interrelated components of field experience move the student counselor
from the level of peripheral participation to authentic professional identity. These
are: Transition, Transmission, Reflective Experience, and Transformation.
a. Transition: Included in this component is the application and acceptance to
the field and placement site. The activities associated with this transition are of
significance to the student because they create for the opportunity to clarify early
career goals, to distinguish between activities of counseling, work settings, and
particular agencies.
b. Transmission: The culture of counseling as a profession in general and the
culture of the organization are transmitted to the student. Try to insure that the
counseling profession is well represented in the field.
c. Reflective Experience: There are four types of reflective practice:
1. Technical rationality, which focuses on the application of skills.
2. Reflection-in-action which refers to the ability to think about
actions and situations while in the midst of them.
3. Reflection-on-action in which the professional considers past
events and behaviors.
4. Reflection-for-action in which the professional revisits a past
experience, analyzes it and plans for the future.
d. Transformation: There is no single moment of transformation; it occurs in
small steps along the way. The field placement site promotes the development of the
trainees’ professional identity by incrementally increasing the opportunities for
autonomous action and leadership as the trainee develops expertise.
Being a Good Counselor Boss: A sampling of effective administrative
supervision practices (Henderson, P., Cook, K. Zambrano, E. Somody, C. Jones, B.
ACES Spectrum, 69 (3), 2009)
What can be applied to counselor’s in training from what we know about
administrative supervision?
1. Supervisors must acknowledge their position of authority and the power that
attends that position. They then must understand and apply the power that is
appropriate for the situation without abusing that power.
2. Counseling supervisors should train counselors so that they respect the integrity
and promote the welfare of their clients.
3. Supervisors should know the community they serve. They are encouraged to find
answers to questions such as: What racial, ethnic, and national groups comprise the
community? What is the range of socioeconomic need? What need relating to gender
and sexual orientation are present?
4. Administrative supervisors provide an example by modeling professional values
and behaviors, and encouraging supervisees’ self-exploration of their own cultural
heritages, values, and attitudes.
5. Supervisors can assist their supervisees to perform at ever-higher levels of
professionalism through a performance management system that includes the job
description, administrative and clinical supervision, performance evaluation, and
goal setting for professional development.
The Counseling Internship: Supervision Experience, Developmental Levels,
and Occupational Stress of Site Supervisors and Interns
(Walter, S., Lambie, G. ACES Spectrum, 69 (3), 2009)
1. Theories of developmental supervision suggest that supervisors should be
functioning at a developmental level that is at least one stage higher than their
supervisees in order to facilitate growth in the supervisee. .
2. The quality of the supervisory process may be more important than the length of
time spent in supervision or in training.
3. Students with higher levels of ego functioning reported lower levels of stress
related to their internships and a stronger tendency to employ coping skills in the
face of stress.
Understanding The Needs of Graduate Students in a School
Internship/Practicum Setting (Woodside, M. Ziegler, M, Paulus, T. Counselor
Education & Supervision, 49, 2009.
In the Professional Development Model counseling interns should experience the
1. Orientation (clarifying expectations, gathering information)
2. Working (enhancing existing skills)
3. Transitioning (assuming responsibility and taking initiative)
4. Integrating (integrating experiences and developing professional identity)
3 Levels of Competence necessary for counseling interns:
1. Mutuality of engagement: ability to interact with other members of the
community, negotiate details of participation, and demonstrate commitment to
-Capacity of intern to establish relationships with school or
agency personnel on all levels
-Interns should be included in all discussions about what matters
in a
school or agency as it reflects a community of practice
2. Mentored Professional Experience:
-Tools, words, routines, stores, ways of doing things, etc.
-Consulting with clients, family members and other professionals
-Conducting individual and group counseling
-Implementing program evaluations
3. Accountability:
-Learn how the counseling office, and broader systems and institution deals
with accountability issues
Suggestions for supervisors:
1. Relationship With Supervisors
-Be aware of students concerned about crossing boundaries and
advocate for them to stay engaged in the role of the counselor.
-Develop an ongoing negotiation between the supervisor and
supervisee to share understandings of professional issues.
2. Lack of Power To Change Things In The School or Agency
-Be aware of student concern with what other professionals will
about their abilities to make contributions and empower
their capabilities
-Know what is important for the supervisee to accomplish during
time at the site
3. Keep communication open
-Make supervisee feel comfortable to address any issues of
with the supervisor on site.
4. Focus on Their Future as a Professional Counselor
-Make supervisee feel as much a part of the professional
community as possible.
5. Provide students with realistic expectations of internship experience
6. Talk with them about establishing working relationships with other professionals
7. Help articulate clarify roles and responsibilities of the counselor
8. Positive relationships with supervisees leads to better practice as a counseling