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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Shawn A. Bultsma
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Supervision Experiences and Needs of New-Entrant Professional School Counselors: A Qualitative Study
Dr. Suzanne Hedstrom, Chair
Dr. Stephen Craig
Dr. Karen Blaisure
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2008 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
3518 Sangren Hall
This study used qualitative methodology to examine the supervision experiences and perceived needs described by 15 new-entrant professional school counselors. Supervision experiences described by the participants of this study included discussion of advantages and disadvantages of receiving supervision. When describing supervision activities as new-entrant professionals, participants limited their accounts to activities that involved communication and frequently confused the process of supervision with mentoring and evaluation. The quality of supervision was described as deficient and the structure of supervision varied among participants. Participants described that they needed support in their new role as professional school counselors. They also identified supervision needs that have been met as well as needs that have gone unmet in their work as new professionals.
Supervision types and the focus of supervision emerged as overarching themes from participants’ descriptions of their supervision experiences and perceived needs. The participants most frequently described their supervision experiences and perceived needs as administrative supervision. Reports of clinical and developmental supervision experiences were limited to participants whose supervisors were licensed as professional counselors. Fewer participants described their need for clinical and developmental supervision when compared to those who described their need for administrative supervision. As participants described their supervision experiences and perceived needs, their descriptions largely focused on concerns with their own performance rather than the impact of their performance on others.
Implications for the practice of professional school counselor supervision and for the specific practice of supervision for new-entrant professional school counselors were discussed based on the experiences and perceived needs reported by the study’s 15 participants. Implications of these results were also included for counselor educators. Limitations of this study were described and recommendations were made for future research as it related to the practice of new-entrant professional school counselor supervision.