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The experience of becoming a clinical supervisor Majcher, Jo-Ann Marie

Abstract

This study explored the lived experiences of Counselling Psychology doctoral students as they underwent the transition from being a counsellor to undertaking the role of clinical supervisor. Phenomenology provided both the philosophical and methodological framework for addressing the research question: How do supervisors-in-training experience and make sense of the process of becoming a clinical supervisor? Six doctoral students enrolled in a clinical supervision course voluntarily participated in a series of three process interviews over the eight month duration of the course: one at the beginning of the course, one midway through and one at the end. A follow-up interview was also conducted with each participant to examine and validate common themes of meaning. Phenomenological themes that were common to all participants were uncovered in each interview set. These shared structures of meaning provided in rich detail the participating doctoral students experiences of becoming clinical supervisors, and how they made sense of their experiences. In addition to the common patterns of experiences that were discovered, a relationship dimension emerged that was shared by all participants, and ran through all themes in all sets of interviews. This study focused specifically on the growth and development of supervisors-in-training. The findings contribute to a greater understanding of the learning process involved in becoming a clinical supervisor. Results are compared to the available theoretical literature related to supervisor development. Implications for supervisor training and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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