Becoming a supervisor, an intensive study of the early development of clinical supervisors

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White, Karen
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Supervisor development has been the object of considerable theoretical speculation, but very little empirical research. This study used a longitudinal, small n design to assess, through quantitative and qualitative methods, the elf-perceptual aspects of very early experience as a supervisor. Four supervisor trainees were followed over a one year period, including training in supervision and four months of their first experiences supervising. Three distinct approaches to training the new supervisors were represented: a practicum with a didactic and an experiential component; gradual transfer of supervision from the supervisor-of-supervision to the supervisor-trainee; and the provision of experience supervising without supervision-of-supervision. It was found that the new supervisors experienced considerable anxiety about the role initially, but very quickly developed confidence in their abilities and identification with the role. The type of training and supervision of supervision received may have had effects on how quickly and extensively these changes came about, as well as on supervisor satisfaction with the experience. Factors which appear to have affected the supervisors' experiences and self-perceptions are identified and recommendations for supervisor training and further research are included.