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Topics and techniques in clinical supervision in psychotherapy training

  • Florian Weck (a1), Yvonne M. Kaufmann (a1) (a2) and Michael Witthöft (a2)

Abstract

Clinical supervision is regarded as one of the most important components of psychotherapy training. In clinical practice, it has been found that the implementation of clinical supervision varies substantially and often differs from the recommendations made in the literature. The objective of the current study was to investigate the frequency of topics (e.g. ethical issues) and techniques (e.g. role play) in the clinical supervision of psychotherapy trainees in Germany. To this end, we considered supervisions in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy (PT). A total of 791 psychotherapy trainees (533 CBT and 242 PT) were asked via the internet to provide information about their current supervision sessions. We found that clinical supervision in psychotherapy training addressed topics that are central for the effective treatment of supervised patients (i.e. therapeutic interventions, therapeutic alliance, maintaining factors, and therapeutic goals). However, the most frequently used intervention in clinical supervision in psychotherapy training was case discussion. Rarely were techniques used that allowed the supervisor to give the supervisee feedback based on the supervisee's demonstrated competencies. For example, 46% of the supervisors never used audiotapes or videotapes in the supervision. Differences between CBT and PT were rather small. Current practice regarding the techniques used in clinical supervision for psychotherapy trainees contradicts recommendations for active and feedback-oriented clinical supervision. Thus the potential of clinical supervision might not be fully used in clinical practice.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr Florian Weck, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24–25, D-14476 Potsdam, Germany. E-mail: fweck@uni-potsdam.de

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Topics and techniques in clinical supervision in psychotherapy training

  • Florian Weck (a1), Yvonne M. Kaufmann (a1) (a2) and Michael Witthöft (a2)
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