Clinical Supervision of Career Development Practitioners: Practical Strategies
Book Review by Emily Kennelly
Hoppin, J. M.., & Goodman, J. (2014). Clinical supervision of career development practitioners: practical strategies. Broken Arrow: National Career Development Association . 58 pages.
The opening statement of this monograph indicates that “students need supervision, neophyte practitioners need supervision, and experienced practitioners benefit from supervision.” Therefore, if you are a student, beginning practitioner, or experienced practitioner, the authors have written this monograph for you to explore the importance of clinical supervision and the unique needs for supervision of career practitioners. Specifically, Hoppin and Goodman address the gap between the training of career practitioners, additional skills required for supervision of career practitioners, and the necessity of ongoing clinical supervision.
The overall format is easy to read and comprised of brief chapters with case scenarios and visual images to support the content. Several chapters in the monograph cover general topics relevant to clinical supervision of career practitioners, training options for supervisors including the Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) and NCDA Career Supervision Training, and career practitioner competencies to consider in supervision. The psychodynamic/developmental models of supervision presented list several leading theories in supervisory practices and application within career practitioner supervision.
The chapter on supervisor techniques and common career practitioner issues explains the role of a supervisor and basic supervisory skills. Basic listening skills in supervision (e.g., attending, reflecting, questioning, summarizing, and encouraging) are discussed in terms of their integration into supervision. The three techniques that stood out as new ways of approaching career issues in supervision are described below:
I-Language Assertion Formula can be used in supervision to help a practitioner role-play, giving specific behavioral feedback to clients. Examples for teaching this skill in supervision are discussed.
Take Action Diagram can be used in supervision to visualize client barriers (e.g., hesitancies surrounding issues of trust) and help a practitioner to overcome barriers which might help the client reach a career goal.
Role Boundary Analysis Chart is a tool to help a supervisee in assessing clients’ personal and career issues in respect to their professional competencies, role as a career counselor, and need for referral to outside service providers.
The remaining chapters highlight special considerations in clinical supervision of career practitioners including the continuation of supervision, various methods of supervision, and ethical considerations. The appendices follow along nicely with the chapters and include supporting materials for supervisors to adopt into their own practice. Appendix A provides a Professional Disclosure Statement template that can inform the initial supervision meeting and ongoing supervisory relationship. Additionally, the sample Informed Consent Agreement (Appendix B) and headings for Supervisor Notes (Appendix C) help to establish guidelines and expectations for the process of supervision.
Group supervision, peer supervision, and distance methods of supervision are presented as “time-saving” measures and those which support practitioners with a high level of skill. As Hoppin and Goodman discuss early on, there is a need for clinical supervision among career practitioners; however, access to supervision may be limited in some career services settings. This chapter may prompt current career practitioners who are not engaged in supervision to consider and explore their clinical supervision options.
If you are not familiar with the ethical and legal issues faced by supervisors of career practitioners, case samples and resources are provided in this section. The authors nicely connect ethical and legal dilemmas to guidelines and best practices from the NCDA Code of Ethics, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), and Career Development Facilitator (CDF) ethical standards.
The monograph ends on the importance of evaluation of career practitioners including formative or summative evaluation. Additionally, strategies for career practitioners to engage in self-evaluation, continuous professional development, and reflection on practice are discussed in detail. The authors also touch on aspects of the working alliance to elicit balanced feedback, the role of a supervisor as a gatekeeper, and termination.
Increasing Counselor Competencies
The NCDA Career Counseling Competencies specifically identify supervision as one of eleven minimum competencies for our profession and defines supervision as the “Knowledge and skills considered essential in critically evaluating counselor performance, maintaining and improving professional skills, and seeking assistance for others when needed in career counseling.” This monograph clearly serves as a tool for improving knowledge and skills in clinical supervision of career practitioners and provides recommendations to maintain or improve your own supervision skills through training and ongoing supervision. It also addresses the need for supervision on a regular basis to maintain and improve counselor skills.
This monograph is the first of its kind for NCDA and the career development field. The authors certainly understand the importance of providing a specific resource for the supervision of career practitioners, as clients bring a unique set of considerations to career counseling. This monograph serves as a foundation for future publications and provides an excellent starting point for discussion.
While the intent is to bridge the gap between supervision of career practitioners in training and clinical supervision of experienced practitioners, the strategies discussed lean slightly towards the supervision of students. Additional content focused on the direct supervision of seasoned career practitioners would help distinguish strategies used in supervision of general counselors, career practitioners, and those who are still in training. A future consideration may be inclusion of a chapter focused solely on the supervision of experienced career practitioners, or those who have earned a CACREP-Accredited Career Counseling degree or completed a supervision training credential.
Although peer supervision was discussed, other supervision strategies such as ‘supervision of supervision’ or ‘triadic supervision’ may be applicable and worthy of inclusion for more experienced career practitioners. The monograph also mentions career theories and supervision models, but glosses over actual strategies to process these. The addition of strategies to explore theoretical perspectives within the context of supervision would be advantageous for neophyte and seasoned career practitioners.
As a current clinical supervisor of career practitioners, graduate students, and doctoral level career counselors in training, this monograph has something for everyone. At a cost of $25.00 for NCDA members and $35.00 for non-members, Clinical Supervision of Career Development Practitioners: Practical Strategies is a critical resource if you are supervising career development practitioners. Available in the NCDA Career Resource Store.
NCDA will again host Clinical Supervision Training at the NCDA Global Career Development Conference. The authors of this monograph, Judith Hoppin and Jane Goodman will be the trainers.
Emily Kennelly, Ed.S, NCC, DCC, is the Senior Assistant Director of Career Advising and Counseling at the Florida State University Career Center. In this role, she is responsible for training and supervising professional career practitioners who hold an NCC credential and graduate and doctoral level career counselors-in-training. She provides weekly supervision, supervision of supervision, and sometimes triadic supervision to facilitate the development and practice of theoretically based career advising and counseling services. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org