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Ethics and Supervision

Counselors who are in a supervisory role must constantly be aware of their ethical obligations. Ethically and legally, supervisors are responsible for the quality of services and actions of supervisees who are under their supervision. Ethical supervision includes paying particular attention to the following areas: competence, evaluation and due process, dual relationships, confidentiality, and informed consent. While supervision may seem fairly straightforward, it is actually a complex and often multi-layered process that should not be taken lightly. Counselors in training also have an ethical responsibility to secure appropriate supervision from a qualified supervisor, to be aware of this supervisor's theoretical orientation as it applies to supervision, and to be an active partner in the supervisory process. Many states have specific guidelines for approved clinical supervisors.

Analyze the qualities of an ethical supervisor.
Evaluate why it is important to have an ethical supervisor.
Address what you would do if you discovered that your supervisor was behaving unethically.

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Ethics and Supervision

(1) Analyze the qualities of an ethical supervisor

Among the qualities cited for an ethical supervisor are leadership ability, empathetic understanding and relationship building (Koocher, Shafranske, & Falender, 2008). In addition to facilitating the development of competencies in trainees, supervisions must monitor the psychotherapeutic processes to ensure that client care is provided according to ethical standards. Thus, an important component of quality care that is necessary in clinical supervisions requires understanding the functions and multiple roles performed as a supervisor. For example, Koocher et al describes duties in clinical supervision that involve: (a) observing, (b) monitoring, (c) assessing, (d) evaluating, (e) instructing, (f) training, and (h) mutual problem solving.

(2) Evaluate why it is important to have an ethical supervisor.

Ladany, Lehrman-Waterman, Molinaro, & Wolgast (1999) note the significance of an ethical supervisor in pointing out that low adherence to ...