Peer Consultation in Supervision

Peer Consultation in Supervision - April 1994 ERIC Digest...

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April 1994 EDO-CG-94-20 Peer Consultation as a Form of Supervision James M. Benshoff The importance of extensive, high-quality counsel- ing supervision has become increasingly recognized as critical to learning, maintaining, and improving profes- sional counseling skills (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992). Yet, for many professional counselors, the availability of regu- lar counseling supervision by a qualified supervisor is very limited or frequently nonexistent. Even counselors who receive ongoing supervision of their counseling prac- tice may not have the type, frequency, or quality of supervision they desire. Peer supervision/ consultation (Benshoff, 1992; Remley, Benshoff, & Mowbray, 1987) has been proposed as a potentially effective approach to increasing the frequency and/or quality of supervision available to a counselor. Peer Consultation Defined Arrangements in which peers work together for mutual benefit are referred to as peer supervision or peer consultation. Peer consultation , however, may be the more appropriate term to describe a process in which critical and supportive feedback is emphasized while evaluation is deemphasized. Consultation, in contrast to supervi- sion, is characterized by the counselor’s “right to accept or reject the suggestions [of others]” (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992, p. 103). Yet, the terms “peer supervision” and “peer consultation” both can be used to describe similar nonhierarchical relationships in which participants have neither the power nor the purpose to evaluate one another’s performance. The basic premise underlying peer consultation is that individuals who have been trained in basic helping skills can use these same skills to help each other function more effectively in their professional (or paraprofessional) roles. Peer consultation experiences can offer a number of ben- efits to counselors (see Benshoff & Paisley, 1993), including: Decreased dependency on “expert” supervisors and greater interdependence of colleagues; •I ncreased responsibility of counselors for assessing their own skills and those of their peers, and for struc- turing their own professional growth; Increased self-confidence, self-direction, and indepen- dence; Development of consultation and supervision skills; Use of peers as models; Ability to choose the peer consultant; and, Lack of evaluation.
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Peer Consultation in Supervision - April 1994 ERIC Digest...

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