Clinical psychologists on clinical supervision : a Delphi survey.
Background and aims
In the context of historical tensions from different epistemologies and
traditions, and contemporary needs for guidance and clarity, the DCP has noted `an
emerging consensus' on the desirability for career long engagement in clinical
supervision for clinical psychologists. The study attempts to measure this consensus
and investigate current practices and beliefs.
Design and participants
A three-round Delphi survey was used, initially gathering semi-structured
accounts of panelists' views and subsequently inviting more precise responses to a
questionnaire derived from those accounts. The participants were 53 clinical
psychologists, selected on the basis of their presumed interest or expertise in
Materials were developed for the study:
" PPI collected personal and professional information,
" DQI collected semi-structured accounts of opinions concerning various aspects of
" DQ2 was a 62-item questionnaire derived from DQI material.
Most panelists were both giving and receiving supervision. There was broad
agreement on most issues, including the desirability of universal engagement in
supervision for clinicians, the primacy of the supervisory relationship, the need for
preparation for the roles of both supervisor and supervisee, and the necessity to
identify supervision as an activity distinct from both management and therapy. In
contrast there was little agreement on how supervision is most appropriately related to
either management or therapy, nor on the relative importance of personal therapy and
supervision in the training of competent therapists.
Most panelists were deeply engaged in both the provision and the receipt of
supervision, which supports current DCP policies, but the culture is not yet strong
enough to guarantee that all clinicians will he offered it routinely.
More theoretical research is needed to develop models of supervision which
will not assume that psychotherapy is its only legitimate focus, but will pay due heed
to the wide range of tasks undertaken by both clinical psychologists and their