Creating a Strength-Based Supervisory Context

CE Hours: 6.0


C. Wayne Jones, PhD

Thursday, December 5th, 2019, PA Counseling Services, Lebanon, PA
Thursday, December 12th, 2019 Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Norristown, PA,
Friday, January 10th, 2020, WellSpan Philhaven, Mount Gretna, PA

Although the development of clinical skills is a process that can take time, clinical supervisors in family-based programs are often under significant pressure to transform therapists who are unschooled in the ESFT model into fully competent ones as quickly as possible.  This can lead supervisors to overfocus on skill deficits, which results in both supervisors and supervisees becoming demoralized. This workshop identifies actions that clinical supervisors can take to counteract this negative process and instead develop a strength-based context for learning.  Focus is given to the relational context of supervision and the factors that work together to either optimize or dampen therapists’ ability to open themselves to learning and to be their best therapeutic selves. These factors include the supervisor-therapist alliance, the group or team culture, the presence of meaningful collaborative goal setting (learning contracts), accurate skill assessment, and ongoing formative feedback.  

This training uses an experiential, interactional, case-based teaching format.  Supervisors are asked to bring in videotapes of their supervisees clinical work for discussion.  The therapists presented will represent a wide range of skill level with some being early in their training and others closer to capstone. Discussions are related back to the didactic information provided regarding the principles of creating a context that evokes clinical competency.   


As a result of participating in this CE activity, clinical supervisors will be able to:

  1. Describe five key characteristics of a growth-promoting supervisory context  
  2. Recognize clues that signal the strength or weakness of the supervisory alliance
  3. Explain the link between accurate clinical skill assessment and meaningful learning contracts   
  4. Recognize and assess clinical skills in videotapes of family therapy sessions
  5. Practice constructive formative feedback in supervision
  6. Identify strength-based strategies for inspiring therapists’ growth and development

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