Discrimination Model of Supervision

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Discrimination Model of Supervision
By: Nashetta Rowell
Ethics in Counselor Education and Supervision
June 25, 2011

School counseling is a complex and demanding component of the counseling profession. With an increase of social and emotional stressors, children and youth of today face numerous challenges. These challenges ultimately affect children in school. With an increase of suicides, drug abuse, gang involvement, and violence amongst youth, a high demand for school counseling supervision is needed (Henderson, 1994). Parents and teachers often turn to school counselors for guidance in helping troubled youth.

Effective supervision is a benefit for novice as well as experienced school counselors. However, there is a lack of supervision in school counseling in comparison to clinical counseling (Wood & Rayle, 2006). Duties of school counselors have increasingly become much more vast due to cost reduction in education, retirement, increase in student enrollment, and an increase in societal issues such as the economic recession. Many novice and experienced school counselors are facing many more problems in the schools today than ever before. The lack of qualified supervision provided to school counselors force those in the profession to rely on self judgment, consultation, and having ethical knowledge about certain situations that may arise (Henderson, 1994).

A study conducted by Wiggins (1993) found "more than 28% of the total group of experienced counselor participants were independently rated as low in effectiveness, 10 years previously, they were still rated in that manner and still employed as counselors" (p. 382). This study reinforced the urgency in the need for supervision for school counselors. If an effective supervision model was put in place, surely after 10 years, an improvement in performance by these experienced counselors would have been documented.

According Herlihy and Corey (1996), the ACA Code of Ethics stated school counselors have a responsibility to monitor their effectiveness, seeking supervision when appropriate. Despite this mandate, an enormous majority of professional school counselors are not involved in any clinical supervision once they are employed as a school counselor. Luke and Bernard (2006) proposed “using a 3 (focus of supervision) x 3 (supervisor role) x 4 (CSCP domain) matrix for an effective school counseling supervision model which is described as an extension of Bernard's (1979, 1997) Discrimination Model” (p. 283).

The discrimination model was initially created as a teaching model for use with apprentice supervisors. It is a theoretical model and is based on technical eclecticism. The discrimination model focuses on three separate foci of the supervisee’s competence: intervention skills; conceptualization skills; and personalization skills. Three supervisory roles are also a focus: teacher, counselor and consultant (Ladany & Bradley, 2010). The school counselor model of supervision with the discrimination model is the chosen model employed for my school counselor supervision practice.

Intervention, conceptualization, and personalization skills are the three identified areas of focus (Ladany & Bradley, 2010). Intervention skills are the observable counselor behaviors and activities that the supervisee utilizes in the counseling relationship. Such skills are described as everything from a simple head nod, greeting of the client, to how the supervisee utilizes empathy and other counseling skills. The next area of focus, conceptualization skills include the counselor’s ability to choose an appropriate intervention, to make sense of what a client is presenting, to find and organize client themes, and to establish process and outcome goals. Finally, personalization skills are observed by the supervisor and focus on the individuality of the supervisee. Personalization skills include the personal style and...
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