Supervision may occur in a group or individual setting. Regardless of what setting supervision occurs in, there are a number of models or theoretical frameworks that supervisors may utilize in supervision. Although there are a number of distinct models available, many supervisors use one or more, or a combination, of the models in practice. The models used in supervision allow clinicians to see the theories modeled and apply them to practical sessions with clients.
Developmental models meet the clinician where they are at in their professional development. Supervision is tailored to meet the professional needs of novice to advanced clinicians. In general this may be broken down into three stages representing the independence of the supervisee from least to most as they develop through practice and supervision.
Integrative Developmental Model (IDM) – The IDM model is one of the most popular developmental models. This model was developed by Stoltenberg, McNeill, and Delworth in 1998 and has a backing of ten years of research. The model is based on three levels of the supervisee’s development: novice (entry-level), intermediate (process-issues), and advanced (independence or a consulting relationship). The model works well with recent graduates.
An expanded developmental model introduced by Skovholdt and Ronnestad in 1992 focused on eight stages of clinician development. These eight stages include: competence, transition to professional training, imitation of experts, conditional autonomy, exploration, integration, individuation, and integrity.
Supervision based on Attachment Theory - Infant neurobiology attachment patterns continue into adulthood and play out in numerous relationships including that of supervisor and supervisee. Supervisors can learn about their supervisee’s attachment patterns through the interaction in supervision and tailor supervision to such an attachment pattern. In general, secure attachment outcomes between supervisor and supervisee are useful and important in clinical work.
Reference: Bennett, S. & Deal, K. H. (2009). Beginnings and Endings in Social Work Supervision: The Interaction between Attachment and Developmental Processes. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 29(1), 101-107.
Psychotherapy-based models utilize psychotherapy theory to apply similar techniques used with clients in the supervision setting. In these models there is a great deal of focus on the client-clinician and clinician-supervisor relationships and interactions.
Psychodynamic Model – The focus in this model is on the client-clinician interactions and its effect on the outcomes of sessions. Supervisors focus on concepts such as transference and parallel processing during supervision.
Person Centered Model – The focus in this model is on the supervisee – supervisor relationship in which the supervisor is not seen as any more of an expert than the supervisee. The goal of supervision is to work on developing a warm, welcoming environment where the supervisee is able to bring their concerns to the table and engage in a collaborative process with the supervisor.
Cognitive-Behavioral Model – Similar to that of using CBT with clients, supervisors work with clinicians to learn how their own cognitions are affecting their skills in session with clients and working to change cognitions to improve session outcomes with clients.
Family Therapy Model – This model of supervision is mostly used with clinicians who work with families. The idea behind the model is for the supervisor to work with the clinician through their own family of origin history and learned behavior in order to recognize how those affect their work with clients.
Feminist Model – Similar to the other Psychotherapy models, the Feminist model stresses the collaborative relationship between supervisor and clinician following the principles of the model for Feminist therapy. The goal for use of the model is to empower the clinician, recognize the power balance, and discuss multiple perspectives in order to enhance the supervisee’s abilities. When using the Feminist model it is recommended the supervisor state that the Feminist model or supervision will be used. This act models for the supervisee the clear and open communication expected from all parties.
Integrative models engage a variety of concepts, theories, and strategies in supervision that reflect the integrative approach the clinicians are practicing. There are two approaches to integrating theories. The first is technical eclecticism, where ideas are borrowed from different schools of thoughts to create the integrated approach. The second is theoretical integration that aims to fuse theories into a more comprehensive theory
Discrimination Model – Supervision is tailored to the individual training needs of each clinician based upon their intervention skills, conceptualization skills, and personalization skills. Each skill is reviewed separately and the supervisor determines whether their role is of teacher, counselor/coach, or consultant.
Systems Approach to Supervision (SAS) – The SAS model provides a framework for supervisors to use in supervision that does not subscribe to any particular model. The SAS model provides specific goals of supervision, seven dimensions for the basis of supervision, and the three stages of supervision in order to guide supervision education and practice.
Solution-Oriented Model – This model is based on family and narrative therapy and incorporates solution-focused techniques. The goal of this model is to allow the clinician to feel that they are the expert and thereby empowering them to come to their own solutions for practice.
Developing your own model of supervision can be an important part of supervision. Most pre-set models do not fit every supervisor completely. The recommendation is to read and synthesize information about models of interest along with personal preferences for supervision (thinking back to being a supervisee) to create a model that works for you as a supervisor and for your clinicians.
Haynes, R., Corey, G., & Moulton, P. (2003). Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions: A
Practical Guide. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Thompson