Supervising Marriage and Family Counselors

Supervising Marriage and Family Counselors - April 1994...

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Overview: Distinctiveness and Complexity The adage “training shapes practice” describes the work of most marriage and family supervisors. Taking this metaphor one step backwar d, most marriage and fam- ily supervisors also believe that “theory shapes training.” In terms of theory, the defining hallmark of marriage and family supervision during its brief history has been a sys- temic orientation (Smith, 1993). Other distinguishing fea- tures include a reliance on live forms of supervision, and the viewing of ethical issues within larger familial, cul- tural, and societal contexts (Smith, 1993). The Complex Family System and Its Influence on Supervision A family system is often described as constantly evolving and self-regulating. During counseling, systemic change occurs via interactions among family members and via interactions with other systems (e.g., the super- visor, the counseling team, social service agencies, legal systems, and others) (Pirrotta & Cecchin, 1988). Further- more, each client family can be understood as a special group of people sharing a unique history, and featuring unique operating rules and social behaviors. For these reasons, marriage and family supervisees face a particularly complex and powerfully dynamic counseling situation in which they may experience a high level of anxiety (Pirrotta & Cecchin, 1988). Commonly used supervisory approaches, described below, may be thought of as avenues to effectively manage both the com- plexity and power of the family system, and any result- Anxiety also may occur when supervisees face coun- seling situations that parallel their own family back- grounds. Typically, rather than helping supervisees re- solve family of origin concerns, marriage and family su- pervisors focus on helping supervisees develop clinical skills (AAMFT, 1993). Accepted practice among marriage and family supervisors is to provide competency-based supervision that is “clearly distinguishable from personal psychotherapy” (AAMFT, 1993, p. 17). This practice speaks to the general belief that with a solid repertoire of clinical goals and skills, supervisees can manage both their own emotions and issues and those of the families they counsel. Marriage and Family Supervisory Modalities
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course MHS 6803 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of Central Florida.

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Supervising Marriage and Family Counselors - April 1994...

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