Juhnke, G. A., & Culbreth, J. R. (1994).
Clinical supervision in addictions counseling: Special
challenges and solutions. ERIC Digest
. Greensboro, NC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling
and Student Services. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED372355)
Juhnke, Gerald A. - Culbreth, John R.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Clinical Supervision in Addictions Counseling: Special Challenges
and Solutions. ERIC Digest.
Since the early 1970's addictions counseling has experienced significant growth and change.
Addictions treatment has become "big business" and as a result, there is a new consciousness for
cost management and containment. Top priorities now include reducing staff turnover,
preventing employee burnout, and maintaining credentialing to meet insurance reimbursement
requirements (Powell, 1993). As the field matures, continued professional training becomes
increasingly important. Declining budgets within many agencies, however, often prohibit
participation in costly seminars designed to promote advanced clinical skills. A solution to this
dilemma is ongoing, in-house clinical supervision (Powell, 1991).
In the addictions profession's infancy, supervision was often little more than a more senior level
helper telling another what to do. In addition, directions to the junior level treatment provider
were primarily based upon the supervisor's personal recovery experience. Today, a more
professional and systematic approach to clinical supervision is warranted. A good counselor
won't necessarily be a good supervisor (Machell, 1987). Therefore, addictions supervisors need
to be well versed in both advanced supervision techniques and addictions counseling.
Despite increased numbers of addictions treatment programs over the past twenty years,
addictions supervision has been virtually neglected. Evidence of this is demonstrated through the
limited number of journal articles written on the topic of addictions supervision. For example, a
recent search for articles written on the topic resulted in only ten citations; of these, only four
specifically addressed the topic of providing clinical addictions supervision.
One conspicuous exception has been the work of David Powell, who has written consistently
about addictions supervision since the mid 1970s. His seminal writings have resulted in
descriptive and databased articles, culminating in the recent publication of his second book on
supervision in addictions counseling. Powell (1993) has developed a model of clinical