Mental health counselors often play an integral part in the training and supervision of students and new practitioners. Whether they are teaching clinical skills in academic settings, providing on-site supervision for practicum and internship students, or serving as clinical supervisors for unlicensed or less experienced counselors, supervision is a relevant component of mental health practice. Designed as a practical approach that builds on the clinical strengths of mental health counselors, psychotherapy-driven supervision advocates blending psychotherapy-based approaches to supervision with role-based models of supervision. Strengths and weaknesses of psychotherapy-based approaches are discussed. Detailed descriptions of the teacher, counselor, and consultant roles of supervisors are presented. Psychotherapy-driven supervision is illustrated for three theoretical approaches: humanistic-relationship oriented, cognitive-behavioral, and solution-focused.
For many mental health counselors, their practice goes beyond direct service with clients and extends into the clinical supervision and training of students and new counselors. Clinical supervision is defined as “an intervention provided by a more senior member of a profession to a more junior member” (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004, p. 8) in which the focus is on “the supervisee’s clinical interventions that directly affect the client, as well as, those behaviors related to the supervisee’s personal and professional functioning” (Bradley & Kottler, 2001, p. 5). Implicit within these definitions are two major elements that are sometimes construed as conflicting. First, the theories of counseling and psychotherapy are integral to developing skilled counselors (Corey, 2005; Day, 2004), and removing psychotherapy theory and practice from supervision is neither feasible nor desirable. Second, clinical supervision is more than an extension of counseling theory. It is a specialty in its own right, complete with established models, practices, and interventions (e.g., Bernard, 1997; Stoltenberg, McNeill, & Delworth, 1998). The purpose of this article is to present a case for psychotherapy-driven supervision, an inclusive model of supervision that incorporates and integrates two elements: counseling theory and practice with role-based supervision approaches. This course is based upon material published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling and is available as an open access article.
This course on psychotherapy is designed for social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, nurses, and substance abuse counselors, who do clinical work. This course is appropriate for beginning, intermediate and advanced level practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of substance abuse treatment. The course material includes a brief literature review. It may also be useful for licensed clinicians who require clinical continuing education courses for license renewal.
Learning Objectives: This course will provide the practitioner with detailed information regarding psychotherapy driven supervision. Specifically, a professional will:
- Describe the different psychotherapy-based approaches to supervision.
- Identify activities for the role of the consultant in psychotherapy driven supervision.
- Recognize role-based models of supervision.
Citation: Pearson, Q. M., (2015). Psychotherapy-driven supervision: integrating counseling theories into role-based supervision. Journal of Mental Health Counseling