Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Lennis G. Echterling

Anne Stewart

Cara Meixner

Abstract

This qualitative study explored the supervision needs and experiences of licensed professional counselors working with clients in crisis. The primary purpose of the inquiry was to understand crisis supervision from the perspective of counselors in the field. The rationale for the study rested on three fundamental assumptions. First, counselors routinely encounter crises in their work with clients. Second, crisis response exposes counselors to hazardous situations and increases the risk for developing burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization. Finally, good supervision protects counselors from the risks associated with crisis work and enhances counselor self-efficacy. However, crisis supervision is frequently not provided and has not been adequately addressed in the literature, CACREP standards, or professional practice guidelines. Data were collected during two rounds of semi-structured interviews with 13 licensed professional counselors. Inclusion criteria included: hold an active license to practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia, be employed full-time in a counseling position, and spend a minimum of 50% work time providing counseling services to clients. Numerous procedures enhanced trustworthiness, including peer reviewers, member checking, and memo-writing. Data were analyzed using constant comparison procedures. Five themes within four major categories were reflected in the data. Themes reflect participants’ understanding of crisis, crisis counseling, crisis supervision, and clinical supervision. The results provided a cogent framework for crisis supervision and a compelling argument for post-licensure clinical supervision. Implications for counselors, supervisors, and counselor educators are presented. Contributions to the literature and future research recommendations are also explored.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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