Implementation of developmental supervision: Evaluation of theory in practice

Laurie J. Cummings (2004)

The Integrated Development Model (IDM) of supervision posits a developmental continuum for counselors. The supervisory relationship facilitates counselor development. To advance trainee development, supervisors must provide supervision tailored to the developmental needs of the trainee. This research attempted to explore the extent to which supervisors are utilizing developmental principles in supervision. The researcher compiled and sent packets of questionnaires to the training directors of all clinical and counseling psychology doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association. Packets included a letter of introduction asking training directors to distribute the questionnaires to supervisory dyads who were asked to respond independently of one another. Questionnaires were selected to represent three aspects of developmental supervision: trainee level of development (Supervisee Levels Questionnaire-Revised), supervisors' interpersonal style (Supervisory Styles Inventory), and content emphasized by supervisors (Supervisor Emphasis Rating Form-Revised). Planned analyses included examination of the correlation between supervisors and trainees on the three questionnaires and a regression analysis to determine whether supervisor scores on the Supervisory Styles Inventory and the Supervisor Emphasis Rating Form-Revised predicted supervisor ratings of trainee level of development. Unfortunately, the response rate to the research was extremely low, resulting in compromised validity and limited generalizability. Future research on IDM supervision must maximize response rates, control for response bias, and address supervisor level of development as an intervening variable.