Supervision and the Discrimination Model
I will be discussing the supervisory roles that I have chosen to utilize with Michael. Michael is a counselor in training who appears to be flustered by his caseload. He recently took on a client, whom he feels is making inappropriate comments, and he is conflicted as to how he should proceed.
The Discrimination Model
The Discrimination Model (Bernard & Goodyear, 1992) promotes giving attention to three supervisory roles with three areas of focus. Supervisors might take on a role of “teacher” when they directly lecture, instruct, and inform the supervisee. When offering supportive guidance supervisors can act in a “consultant” role to colleagues. And lastly, supervisors may act as “counselors” when they assist supervisees in identifying their own “blind spots” or working through any countertransference issues that may be presenting themselves (Pearson, 2004).
The Discrimination Model also highlights three areas of focus for skill building:
“Process issues” examine how the mechanical aspects of the therapeutic process are handled, the nuts and bolts of the counseling field. For example, is the supervisee using reflection of emotion accurately, what about the attending skills, such as “active listening, verbal prompts, and paraphrasing? Has the supervisee demonstrated a mastery of the basic building blocks that are the foundation for counseling?
“Conceptualization issues” include how well a supervisee formulates cases from theory and how well they convey this. They also focus on thinking about how to proceed based on a clear understanding of the theoretical background they have chosen.
“Personalization issues” focus on how therapists use their own experiences, thoughts and feelings in therapy. This helps clients not to feel put on the defensive in therapy, aware of their own feelings, of their impact on the client and able to use this information as the session unfolds (Erford, 2018, p. 411).
Michael verbalizes what appears to be a great deal of insecurity regarding his counseling skills and abilities. Here I would assume the supervisory role of Teacher, whereby I would review the fundamentals, would teach specific concepts and techniques and could possibly even assign reading to assist the supervisee (Erford, 2018. p. 412). This would fall under, “Process skills,” also known as Intervention skills.
He starts apologizing for his performance on his taped counseling session prior to playing the tape for supervision. Here I would supervise using the role of Counselor, and focus on Intervention skills, or what the supervisee is doing in session that is observable by the supervisor (Erford, 20018, p. 411).
In addition, when processing the various clients he sees, Michael often says, “I just don’t know what to do.” Here I would employ the supervisory role Consultant. The supervisor may work with the supervisee to identify different interventions, may discuss several models for the supervisee to consider, or may address issues related to specific client populations (Erford, 20018, p. 412). This would be considered a “Conceptualization skills.”
Most importantly I believe Michael is having a very difficult time with his latest client and what appears to be transference. I would choose the role of Counselor. The role of the Counselor supervisor may help the supervisee focus on personal issues such as discomfort or abilities, and help the supervisee confront personal issues that may affect the counseling sessions
(Erford, 2018, p. 412). This would fall under “Conceptualization skills.”
The discrimination model of supervision consists of three supervision steps 1) intervention 2) conceptualization and 3) personalization and three roles that must be played by the supervisor 1) teacher 2) counselor, and 3) consultant (Bernard & Goodyear, 2004; Falender & Shafranske, 2004).
I believe that for the role as teacher, the is most crucial skill is the intervention, also known as process issues. Especially for Michael, as they are the actual basics of counseling therapy, and without a strong mastery of the fundamental skills, you can very quickly become overwhelmed in a client session. One of Michaels first concerns is his insecurity regarding his counseling skills and abilities.
For the role of Consultant, I believe the most relevant skills is Conceptualization skills, or how the supervisee understands what is occurring in the session, identifies patterns, or chooses interventions, this would benefit Michael as he is presently struggling with this process. And as for the role of Counselor, I believe the skill that would be most beneficial would be Personalization skills, or the supervisee’s personal style (Erford, 2018, p. 412).
It is obvious from the case study we looked at here, that supervision is an absolute must for beginning counselors. There is a huge difference between learning about counseling techniques and theories, and writing academic papers on those topics, and putting that knowledge into practice with actual clients and their varied issues.
Bernard, J. M., Goodyear, R. K. (1992). Fundamentals of clinical supervision. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Falender, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based approach. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Pearson, Q. M. (2004). Getting the most out of clinical supervision: Strategies for mental health. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 26(4), 361-373.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.