Models of Supervision

Reflective supervision for psychologists

What is Reflective Supervision (RS)?

Reflective supervision is a collaborative, relationship-based approach to professional development with an emphasis on reflection.

Reflective practice is important due to the necessity of being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reactions as a therapist. Therapists also have to be aware of their own position in terms of professional status, gender, class, ethnicity and so on, and how these impact upon the therapeutic process.

What is an Integrative Model of Supervision?

‘Theoretical integration refers to a conceptual or theoretical creation beyond a mere blending of techniques. This path has the goal of producing a conceptual framework that synthesizes the best of two or more theoretical approaches to produce an outcome richer than that of a single theory.’ (Haynes, Corey, & Moulton, p. 124).

What is Person-Centred Supervision?

Research has demonstrated that the best predictor of outcomes in therapy is the client-therapist relationship. In Person-centred supervision, the supervisor is not seen as an expert. Rather, the supervisor is seen to serve as a “collaborator” with the supervisee. The supervisor’s role is to provide an environment in which the supervisee can be open to his/her experience and fully engaged with the client (Lambers, 2000). 

In person-centered therapy, “the attitudes and personal characteristics of the therapist and the quality of the client-therapist relationship are the prime determinants of the outcomes of therapy” (Haynes, Corey, & Moulton, 2003, p. 118). Person-centered supervision adopts this tenet as well, relying heavily on the supervisor-supervisee relationship to facilitate effective learning and growth in supervision.

What is the Cognitive-behavioural Model of Supervision?

Case formulation is described as a key element, or the ‘lynchpin’, of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT). (Butler, 1998) 

The CBT Model of supervision used the 5 P’s Model. The 5P model helps link a person’s experiences to the cognitive model.

The 5 P's

1. Presenting Issues: Identifying and defining the current problem(s). A biopsychosocial assessment is conducted. The therapist begins to explore if presenting problems are triggered by internal, external or a combination of events that are associated with time and place.

2. Perpetuating: Explains what maintains the issues in the ling-term and how elements (such as emotional and behavioural avoidance, attentional processes such as vigilance to threat and cognitive processes like rumination and worry, (Dudley et al., 2010)) act in a dynamic way to reinforce the issue.

3. Precipitating: What lead to the onset of difficulties? Here we must consider:

  • Quantity, and

  • Quality.


The stress-vulnerability model indicates that we are all prone to experience stressors in our lives but our reaction depends on our vulnerability. Here we need to consider underlying vulnerabilities and the meaning of events that have been perceived through an individual’s underlying cognitive filters.

Precipitating events include the quantity of stressors, vulnerability at the time and depth of stressor like core beliefs, or schemas, being triggered that were learned in formative developmental experiences (e.g., like being neglected when young and forming the belief that one is unlovable).

4. Predisposing: This includes:

  • The quantity of events as trauma has a cumulative effect.

  • The nature of the event (physical, sexual, psychological) and

  • Severity of events

5. Protective: Identifies protective factors. These include:

  • Positive Asset Search (PAS): Identified strengths and resilience,

  • Support networks, including community engagement,

  • Positive coping strategies and skills

  • Future goals


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