Counselor Education

On-Site Supervisor Orientation and Training


The faculty and students of Counselor Education program at Virginia Tech wish to thank you for your generous contribution of valuable time in serving as an on-site supervisor for one of our interns. Your efforts help promote excellence in the field of Counseling, and the supervisory role you play will elevate the quality of education and directly impact the professional development of the intern at your site.

As you may know, Virginia Tech is accreditted by the Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP standards state that all on-site supervisors must receive orientation, assistance, and consultation regarding clinical supervision of interns and our program. A supervisor or faculty member from the university will be in touch with site supervisors periodically throughout the placement to provide whatever assistance you may need. In addition, this site has been developed to provide some basic information about clinical supervision, and resources related to providing supervision. We hope you will find it both convenient and informative.

The following information includes an overall orientation and training for all on-site supervisors. All of the information on this web site is relevant for either school and clinical mental health counseling supervisors.

Expectations for Interns

In compliance with CACREP standards, we require our interns to complete 600 hours at internship sites. Interns attend a university group supervision seminar each week in which they will be required to show videotapes of counseling sessions, and most participate in individual or triadic supervision (two supervisees meeting with one supervisor) during their internship as well. This method allows for the most effective feedback to enhance the learning experience of the developing intern. Additionally, interns must maintain logs of their time spent at the site, keep ongoing journals of their experiences, and develop a learning contract approved by both on-site and university supervisors. A foundation for these learning contracts can be accessed in the internship manual. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, interns are required to receive weekly on-site supervision for one hour. This supervision takes place continuously throughout the duration of the internship.

Expectations of On-Site Supervisors

Please review the internship manual to learn about specific experiences needed by interns, examples of learning contract formats, and supervisor evaluations of interns.

What is Clinical Supervision?

Clinical supervision is "an intervention that is provided by a senior member of a profession to a junior member or members of that same profession. This relationship is evaluative, extends over time, and has the simultaneous purpose of enhancing the professional functioning of the junior member(s), monitoring the quality of professional services offered to the clients, and serving as a gatekeeper for those who are to enter the particular profession"(Bernard & Goodyear, 2013).

How does Clinical Supervision differ from Administrative Supervision?

While overlap does exist, Clinical Supervision and Administrative Supervision differ in distinct ways. This difference is relevant because many on-site supervisors are more familiar with administrative supervisory roles, and have little or no formal training in Clinical Supervision. As a Clinical Supervisor, you are responsible for the development of the supervisee, as well as the safety and quality of services delivered to the client(s) by the supervisee. Much of the focus in this domain will be given to individual cases. Administrative supervision, on the other hand, places more of an emphasis on issues related to larger matters of organizational functioning (which also subsumes service delivery).

However, Administrative skills such as maintaining open communication with the university supervisors as well as keeping a written record of each meeting with the supervisee (perhaps in the form of a process or progress note) are also needed by Clinical Supervisors. This written documentation will not only protect you in litigation but will also provide you with an overall view of the intern's progress over the course of the semester, which will inform and support your evaluation of the intern.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

The American Counseling Association (ACA) established the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Similarly, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), has developed Ethical Guidelines for Counseling Supervisors.

Clinical Supervision Competencies

There are Seven Clinical Supervision Competencies for which you should strive in order to optimize the experience for both you and the intern. These competencies are listed below with examples of Goals. They are also labeled throughout this training module according to relevant areas that would satisfy that competency.

  • Competency 1: Models of Supervision

Goal: To engage the supervisor with the supervisee in understanding and applying a model of supervision

  • Competency 2: Counselor Development

Goal: Be able to identify developmental stage of supervisee and self during a session

  • Competency 3: Knowledge and use of a variety of supervision methods and techniques

Goal: To experience a variety of supervision techniques

  • Competency 4: Awareness of supervisory relationship characteristics and issues: Intervention strategies to facilitate positive interaction

Goal: To maintain ability to interact equitably where appropriate and to demonstrate assertiveness when necessary to ensure that the issues for supervision are completely covered during the session.

  • Competency 5: Knowledge and response to ethical, legal, and professional regulatory issues

Goal: To ensure that the supervisee be well informed about legal/ethical issues in counseling and supervision.

  • Competency 6: Evaluation methods and procedures regarding the counselor's cases, the counselor's skills, and the supervisor's skills

Goal: To evaluate skills of supervisee and your skills as a supervisor.

  • Competency 7: Executive or administrative skills such as record keeping and collaboration with the institutions involved

Goal: To maintain appropriate records and oversee supervisee's records.

Note: Click the following links to review more specific information and examples of supervision competencies.

How Do I Supervise Thee?

As mentioned earlier, supervision at Virginia Tech uses modalities including reviewing audio and video tapes, observation in the room, or some form of live supervision. Research has shown that self-report does not allow for the most effective supervision to take place, as most of us are not accurate historians and too much information (including all subtleties and nonverbals) is missed.

Techniques and Interventions for Supervision

1. Interpersonal Process Recall

Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR) is an interesting intervention you may wish to utilize when you have the luxury of reviewing a video-taped segment. It allows for the supervisor to lead the intern in self-exploration. It works most effectively by pausing the video and exploring that moment in the session. Examples from Bernard and Goodyear (1998, p102) are included below.

*Affective Exploration

Were you aware of any feelings?

*Exploring Unstated Agendas

What would you have liked to have said at this point?

What's happening here?

If you had more time, where would you have liked to have gone?

*Exploring Cognitions

What were you thinking at that time?

Is that the image you want to project?

*Exploring Images

What was going on in your mind at the time?

Were any pictures, images, or memories flashing through your mind then?

*Exploring Mutual Perceptions

Was the client giving you cues as to how he/she was feeling?

How do your think she/he felt about talking about this problem?

*Exploring Expectations

What did you want the client to do/say?

2. Modeling

Modeling is accomplished when the supervisor demonstrates within the supervision session a particular behavior for the benefit of the supervisee.

3. Role-playing and Role-Reversal

Role play and role-reversal are accomplished when the supervisor and supervisee engage in rehearsal of some past or future counseling situation for the benefit of the supervisee.

These strategies offer inventive ways to enhance intern development as well as providing an opportunity for the intern to take a new perspective on a variety of issues and client situations.

A Final Word

We appreciate your time and willingness to serve as an on-site supervisor. We hope that this orientation and training site has provided you with helpful information that you can use with our students. If you have any questions at all beyond this training, please do not hesitate to contact the university supervisor. They are here to support you through this process. Open communication is always key to promoting student development and maintaining good relationships between training institutions.

Please take a moment to email verification that you have received and read this orientation and training information. Any comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the on-line training would be appreciated. Again, thank you for your cooperation. We could not do this without you!

Please email Dr. Laura Farmer at or call her at (540) 231-9725 after reading the information above to verify receipt of training. You are also encouraged to make comments or suggestions about this page using the contact information above.

To download the individual supervision forms use the links below: