Supervisor as Supervisee: Factors That Influence Doctoral Students' Self-Efficacy as Supervisors

Frick, Melodie Henson, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Glosoff, Harriet L., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Covert, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Thomas, Antoinette, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Williams, Derek J., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

There have been many studies on supervising counselors-in-training; few researchers, however, have empirically examined the experiences of doctoral students as they train to become supervisors. More specifically, little is known about what factors influence the self-efficacy of doctoral students as supervisors-in-training while they work in the "middle management" tier of supervision; providing supervision to master's students while receiving supervision from faculty. The primary purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify factors that influence the self-efficacy of counselor education doctoral student supervisors.

In this qualitative study, focus group interviews and follow-up questionnaires were used to explore what extrinsic and intrinsic factors affect the self-efficacy of doctoral students as supervisors-in-training as they practice and receive supervision in the middle tier of supervision. Data analyses revealed five emergent themes: influential people, feedback, middle tier, training program, and suggested improvements. Participants identified influential people such as current and previous supervisors, supervisees, and peers, as having positive and negative effects on their self-efficacy as supervisors. Providing performance feedback to supervisees and receiving feedback from supervisors, supervisees, and peers, also was reported as being instrumental in participants' growth as supervisors. Participants also indicated uncertainty about their "voice" and limitations as doctoral student supervisors, noting positive and negative dynamics in the middle tier of supervision. In addition, strengths and barriers of supervision training programs were reported to influence self-efficacy, and participants provided suggestions to improve supervision training that could improve the development of supervisor self-efficacy.

Findings from this study will assist counselor education programs in examining how they offer supervision training and in making decisions regarding possible changes to promote stronger student self-efficacy. Doctoral students will gain perspective of what they might expect in their supervision training; normalizing their experiences and emotions, and informing them that they are not alone in the ambiguous task of identifying and developing their counselor supervisor identities. Further, findings from this study can be easily translated to other disciplines where different levels of supervision and management of trainees are in place. Finally, suggestions for continued research on the middle tier of supervision are recommended.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
self efficacy, counselors in training, social cognitive theory, middle management
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