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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Supervising Service Member/Veterans as Master’s Level Counseling Students: A Qualitative Study
by Bissette, Rebecca L., Ph.D., Capella University, 2021, 181; 28317747
Abstract (Summary)

The experience of supervisors of military service member/veteran supervisees in master’s level counseling practicum and internship has not been researched. Clinical supervision is a central tenet of counselor training and professional development. The benefits of multiculturally sensitive supervision, multicultural competency training, and better integration of diversity awareness into supervision approaches has been highlighted by the research. Military service member/veterans represent a unique cultural demographic, and are actively using educational benefits to pursue secondary careers, such as mental health professionals. The term student service member/veteran (SSM/V) is inclusive of both current and separated military members engaged as students in a learning environment and represents a special population. Although there is no research specific to the supervision of SSM/Vs in master’s level counseling programs, there is increasing emphasis on military cultural competencies within counseling. This generic qualitative study investigated the experience of supervisors of student service member/veterans (SSM/Vs) in master’s level counseling program practicum and internship through a relational cultural theory lens. The study was conducted through semi-structured interviews of supervisors of SSM/Vs that had been supervising for at least three years, supervised both SSM/Vs and non-SSM/Vs, and were currently supervising or had supervised an SSM/V within the last two years. The results of the analyzed data revealed two overarching themes: that supervisors experience initial confusion in the supervisory relationship stemming from perceived differences between SSM/Vs and non-SSM/Vs and adjustment of the supervisory approach. The first theme, supervisors’ initial confusion in the supervisory relationship stemming from perceived differences between SSM/Vs and non-SSM/Vs, was related to behaviors of SSM/Vs to include (a) increased self-responsibility and taking on multiple roles, (b) appearing to not want to show struggle, (c) reservedness, (d) unique communication style, and (e) analytical approach. The second theme, adjustment of the supervisory approach, was related to (a) building rapport, (b) hierarchy and structure, (c) communication in the supervision approach, (d) adjustment of models and techniques, (e) feedback and assessment, (f) self-care, and (g) resources. Findings suggest supervisors, especially those without previous exposure to military members/veteran culture, experience initial confusion, and would benefit from adjusting supervision communication and approaches when working with this population. The study offers implications for counseling supervisors and recommendations for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahon, Megan
Commitee: Ellis, Jeri L., Fauser, Missy
School: Capella University
Department: School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Public Health Education, Military studies, Higher education
Keywords: Counseling, Models of Supervision, Students, Supervision
Publication Number: 28317747
ISBN: 9798582508144
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