The Good Supervisor - April 1994 ERIC Digest EDO-CG-94-18...

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April 1994 EDO-CG-94-18 It has been my very good fortune to have been su- pervised by several good supervisors. These supervisors were quite different from each other in personality and their supervision style, focus, and goals. One insisted that the person of the counselor is of greatest importance, and then struggled with me to discover who that person was for me and how to use it in my relationships with clients. Another focused on more concrete behaviors and cogni- tions, forcing me to learn how to articulate what I was doing and why. A third introduced me to a new theoreti- cal perspective on counseling, broadening my conceptualizations of clients and my interactions with them. With each, I felt tremendous challenge to stretch and grow, buffered by an implied belief that I could achieve their goals for me. Each seemed to have been assigned to me at just the right time in my professional development, and/or they recognized my needs at that time and were able to provide what I needed. The influ- ence of each of these supervisors can been seen in my counseling and supervision work today. Only one of these supervisors had received any supervision training. Like other counselors, I also have had less memorable supervision, and have heard numerous colleagues’ and students’ horror stories about their unpleasant experi- ences as supervisees. Some describe busy supervisors or those who lacked interest in their supervisees and the supervision process. Some cite supervisors who seemed most interested in putting in the minimum required time with as little work and as few hassles as possible. Others remember mismatches in theoretical orientation to coun- seling or critical personality traits. All of these experiences, and my own professional work in the area, have convinced me that potentially good supervisors are born, but all benefit from training experi- ences in which they focus on supervision knowledge and skills,reflect on their role and responsibilities, and receive input from others about their work as supervisors. These experiences also have led me to ask questions about what distinguishes “good” supervisors from “bad” supervisors and how counselors become effective supervisors. Thus far, there are too few answers to my questions. The supervisor by far has received the least attention of any variable in the supervision enterprise. To date, only a few researchers have focused on supervisor qualities and skills, and only three very brief models of supervisor development have been proposed. What we do know is summarized below, drawing from reviews by Worthington (1987), Carifio and Hess (1987), Dye and Borders (1990), Borders et al. (1991), and Borders (in press). Characteristics of Supervisors
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The Good Supervisor - April 1994 ERIC Digest EDO-CG-94-18...

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