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Nazcjournalno25/2Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand: An Exploratory Study of Supervisor Perspectives Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White Abstract
This study investigated how experienced supervisors understand the matter of
supervisor responsibility, and the effects of that understanding for supervision prac-
tice. The study was developed as part of the curriculum content of a graduate paper
in supervision: one purpose was the professional education of the researchers, while
the second was to promote discussion within the local profession about supervision
practices, in the absence of a New Zealand literature.
Nine experienced supervisors, located throughout New Zealand, were interviewed
for the study. Results suggest that while participants were prepared to be account-
able and responsible for their own work as supervisors, they differed in respect of
their views on supervisors’ responsibility for counsellors’ practice and for clients.
Clear, negotiated agreements were seen to be central to the exercise of responsibility.
Ideas about locating responsibility within networks of practice were reflected in
supervisors’ willingness to supervise new counsellors.
Since supervision is increasingly called on as assurance of the quality of counselling,it seems important to ask how supervisors in New Zealand understand the responsi-bility they take up in their work in supervision. The international literature offerswidely disparate constructions of supervisors’ responsibilities, both those theyexercise in supervision itself and those they take for counsellors’ work. In the UK, Kingand Wheeler argued that “the extent of supervisory responsibility is unclear ethically,legally and practically” (1999, p. 227). For example, senior supervisors in their studyreported reluctance to invoke the British Association for Counselling and Psycho-therapy (BACP) complaints procedure. At the same time they were reluctant tosupervise those new to the profession or those unknown to them. Significantly, Kingand Wheeler suggested that without more clarity about supervisory responsibility, theprofession cannot assume supervision offers assurance of the quality of counselling.
Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White Webb’s study of counsellor expectations of supervisors’ responsibilities suggested “…we cannot, as a profession, even agree on what constitutes responsibility – clinical orotherwise – or even whether it is an appropriate concept to maintain” (2001, p. 190).
Despite arguments for clear supervisory contracts in order to clarify responsibility invarious settings (Copeland, 2001; Henderson, 2001; Wheeler, 2001), only a smallproportion of counsellors in Lawton’s (2000) UK study reported satisfaction with therigour of supervision contracting processes.
In the UK distinctions are drawn between legal and ethical responsibility (Carroll, 1996; Jenkins, 2001). “The supervisor owes a duty of care to the supervisee,” suggestedJenkins, but in respect of clients their “legal duties may be more limited” (2001, p. 38).
Legal responsibility, suggested Axten, is for the “quality of the supervision rather thanthe quality of the therapy” (2002, p. 109). However, such a distinction leaves beggingthe question of how this responsibility, for the quality of the supervision, gets playedout.
In contrast, clear expression of extensive supervisor responsibility is offered by an American Counselling Association text in current use: You [the supervisor] are responsible for both a counselor and that counselor’sclients, for the counselor’s learning and the counselor’s welfare. (Borders & Leddick,1987, p. 2.) This position, produced by the professional culture and litigious environment of the US, constructs responsibility as only unilateral. It comes out of the training and accred-itation focus of supervision in that culture: “supervisors are ultimately responsible,both ethically and legally, for the actions of their trainees” (Corey et al., 1998, p. 292).
Recalling McConkey’s call for “a genuine New Zealand-based version” of supervision (1999, p. 82), we argue for care locally before applying precedents from other jurisdic-tions. Consulting New Zealand Association of Counsellors’ (NZAC) documents, wenote the echoes of unilateral responsibility in the language used by the Association’slegal adviser writing about the vicarious liability of supervisors: “where a supervisorassumes responsibility over a supervisee” (Jefferson, 2002, p. 31). Jefferson’s focus is oninsurance protection in the face of potential litigation: our interest is in the languageemployed to describe the supervisory relation. There is a clear contrast between thelanguage of the legal paradigm in which Jefferson wrote (“responsibility over”) andthat of the NZAC Code of Ethics (NZAC, 2002). The Code refers to counsellors organ-ising supervision with supervisors, and to collaboration and partnership in describingthe way the supervision relationship works. The emphasis of supervisor responsibilityis on assisting counsellors to explore and monitor their practice. The Code lists four Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand responsibilities of supervisors, none of which suggests having responsibility over acounsellor, or responsibility for the actions of a counsellor. Further, the practice ofinvesting responsibility in the person of the supervisor was problematised in a NewZealand doctoral study: … a discourse of supervisor responsibility may not position supervisors and coun-sellors well to collaborate in the tasks of supervision: nor may it position counsel-lors well to exercise responsibility for effective and ethical practice in theircounselling work. Its discourse practices tend to obscure the professional abilities ofcounsellors. (Crocket, 2001, p. 171.) That study described supervision practice where responsibility was exercised as relational responsibility, suggesting that responsibility might be produced in thesupervision relationship rather than in the person of the supervisor.
The current study drew on this range of literature, asking in particular about super- visor understanding of these areas: the limits and extents of supervisor responsibility;supervisor responsibility for counsellor practice; insurance; responses to the language“responsibility over”; the idea that responsibility might be taken in the relationship;vetting processes; worrying and enjoyable aspects of supervisory responsibilities.
The study formed part of the curriculum and assessment for a Masters paper in professional supervision. The ten students in the research group were themselvescounsellors and supervisors. The first author designed the study and gained ethicalapproval. Other phases of the study were undertaken collaboratively.
Student members of the research group each identified and interviewed one experi-enced supervisor with whom they were not currently in a supervision relationship.
Participants (referred to in this article by initials) had between six (AC) and 26 years(JL) of experience as counselling supervisors. Some had longer experience in social orcommunity work, clergy or pastoral work, oncology, and mental health nursing. Fourparticipants were women, five were men. Participants were from throughout NewZealand, in the localities in which students lived.
The semi-structured interview schedule was made available to participants prior tothe interview. Interviews were taped and transcribed by each interviewer. Participantidentities were confidential to each individual student interviewer and the first author: Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White transcripts were coded twice to preserve anonymity. Participants were invited tocomment on the transcript and the first analysis.
In producing an analysis, each transcript was considered by the interviewer, one other student researcher, and the first author. Analyses were based around a set ofquestions, relating to the themes in the interview and to the transcript as text.
The results are reported under five main headings: the extents and limits of super-visors’ responsibility; clarification of responsibility through contracting; other net-works and supervisor responsibility; protecting oneself; the pleasures of supervisoryresponsibility.
The extents and limits of supervisor responsibility Supervisor responsibility for the work done within supervision
There was a general emphasis on the responsibility of the supervisor to providequality work in the supervision room: If the counsellor has raised that case with me, then, yes, I take responsibility for theadvice or conversation that I have with them about that. I do accept it is up to meif they ask, “What would you do?” to give a good response to that. (AC) The phrase “if the counsellor has raised the issue with me” points to one theme around which ideas about what constitutes quality work differed. While GI argued, “Icertainly don’t see my role as being one of monitoring or overseeing the counsellor’swork,” four participants suggested they had a responsibility to go beyond what thecounsellor presented: As I get to know the person and their work I might start to think a bit more widelyabout … areas that I perhaps do have some responsibility for, which the superviseemight not be bringing. (MO) Concern for the safety of clients, both in their daily lives and in the counselling relationship, were particular indicators for supervisor vigilance.
There is a responsibility on the supervisor to listen for areas where there could bepeople at risk. (DF) I’ve got a responsibility to ask about and talk about anything that I feel or sense asnot quite adding up or anything that makes me wonder about things. (EN) Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand Suggesting that she might look back over her notes and ask herself, “Have they brought many ethical issues; have they ever talked about having a sexual attraction totheir clients?” MO spoke to a rationale for such vigilance: Some of the boundary breaches … happen in areas where the supervisor hasabsolutely no idea because they’ve never actually talked about that area in super-vision because the person never brought it because it’s something that’s lockedaway. Acknowledging that invoking supervisor vigilance is not unproblematic, DF suggested: And you have got to be careful that you just don’t look under every sofa and everycover looking for some transference going on [but] there is a responsibility for thesupervisor to be mindful of things that just don’t seem to quite fit what you mightexpect in a normal relationship, of emotions that have been triggered, inappropri-ate feelings or whatever, and they need to be fully discussed. Related to these matters of oversight or vigilance, a number of participants spoke about decisions to be involved in monitoring counsellor workload, or general coun-sellor well-being.
I have at different times recommended that supervisees take some time out, take abreak. Or else if they burn out – look for another job. I’ve talked very strongly tothem. (MO) If the relationship is worth its salt then I’ll care about the person, and if I see theperson sort of burning out or wiping out or being crazy, then I have some respon-sibility to at least challenge that and make that known. (SW) Counsellor responsibility for the work done within supervision
All participants expected that counsellors exercise responsibilities in supervision, par-ticularly for what they bring to supervision: “[They] bring to supervision the realissues that they are actually encountering in their work” (DF); “they take responsibil-ity for their own awareness and monitoring of their work: they bring the things thatare important for them” (GI). Supervisor vigilance does not preclude counsellor self-responsibility: I have to trust my supervisees that they will bring issues of concern: I can’tguarantee their safety … I will always be encouraging self-responsibility. (MO) Self-responsibility is encouraged through setting clear expectations that practitioners Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White will inform supervisors “if they have someone who is at risk, if there’s anything hap-pening in their own lives that can affect their work, or if they’re having any other super-vision” (MO).
AC looked for counsellors to be proactive in supervision in taking responsibility for their counselling practice: “I think they have an equal responsibility, probably more sonow that I am thinking about it. I do expect a practitioner to be an active practitioner.”Echoing calls for counsellors to be proactive, DF suggested it is the counsellor’s respon-sibility to “resource themselves sufficiently in terms of what they are thinking and whattheir strategies are”. He contrasted this with an “approach where they relate what’shappened in a case and they go to work and do what you tell them”. He noted a “widevariation in terms of responsibility that people [counsellors] assume”, attributing thisvariation to stages of counsellor development.
Beyond an emphasis on responsibility, SW suggested that it is the counsellor’s right to set the supervision agenda: “It’s the counsellor’s time and money and initiative thatset this relationship up in the first place.” Collaborative and mutual responsibilities in supervision
Many participants invoked mutuality: “I’ve always seen supervision as being a sharedendeavour, something that is negotiated and developed by the two people involved”(GI); “I’m interested particularly in the collaborative practice that places responsi-bility between the counsellor and the supervisor” (PR).
While four supervisors spoke of matters of client safety calling them to particular kinds of responsibility, GI described client safety as a “shared responsibility”: the coun-sellor brings concerns, and then “it’s my role as supervisor to work with them to openthat out, to think about it in terms of ethics”. MO, too, spoke of shared responsibility: I have had to make some professional judgements about safety and whether thesupervisee has done everything that they can do. That’s the scariest because thesupervisee comes to me; then I might go to my own supervision or I’ll thinkthrough or talk through the safety aspect of that, and then the responsibility sitswith me. It doesn’t just sit with the supervisee. Suggestions were made that there is also mutual responsibility for: the supervision process; maintaining the relationship; honesty; and reflection on practice in terms ofethical codes: The supervisor and counsellor need to establish in their discussion right at the begin-ning that we’re both taking responsibility for the process, and for the relationship.
(JL) Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand I see a responsibility to do all I can as a supervisor to make things transparent –and that’s not just the counsellor being transparent with me, it’s back the otherway too. (SW) The terms offered by BT invoke a sense of reciprocity: “I think I have responsibility to the supervisee but not over the supervisee.” A similar relational responsibility ispresent in JL’s response to the idea that supervisors cannot take responsibility forcounsellor actions: That’s a whole summary of an individualistic attitude to life. It’s all wrapped upwith individualism and patriarchy, and not taking responsibility for yourneighbour. “I’m alright mate: you do the best you can.” … It demonstrates a lackof understanding of the seriousness of being a supervisor … Responsibilities for counselling practice
In contrast, speaking as a counsellor, EN expressed willingness to shoulder responsi-bility: If I were to really stuff up badly in my work, I would feel that was completely myown responsibility. I would not expect my supervisor to take any responsibility. DF and BT took similar positions: “… at the end of the day the supervisor can’t be responsible for what the counsellor then goes and does with their comments”; “Ican’t be responsible for how the counsellor behaves in their own room when I’m notthere.” Between JL’s concern about the effects of individualism and EN’s emphasis on an autonomous practitioner, many participants suggested that the supervisor carries adegree of responsibility to the client of the counsellor: “… if my communication is notup to scratch then maybe I am also responsible for what the counsellor has done”(SW); “[when a counsellor has a client they are concerned about] I have a responsi-bility both to the client and to my supervisee” (MO).
Many calls about supervisor responsibility for client practice were made in terms that invoked an ultimate responsibility: in the end, at the end of the day, ultimately. Partici-pants also used this rhetorical device to take positions against supervisors carryingultimate responsibility. The ambiguity and complexity of the matter is seen in twocontrasting comments from SW: “… ultimately the responsibility we both have is forthe client … I’ve got some responsibility [as supervisor] there as well”; “ultimately theother person [the counsellor] is responsible for what they do”.
Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White Supervisor responsibility to initiate action
Many participants had addressed concerns about counsellor practice by speakingdirectly with the counsellor. GI indicated the processes available: “If I am supervisingsomeone who’s working unsafely then it’s my responsibility to respond to that, and tooffer my responses to their responses … Ultimately, I’d break the relationship,addressing that with others.” SW spoke of the dilemma between working with thecounsellor to “maybe effect change because the responsibility that we both have ulti-mately is to this person’s clients”, and a sense that he could not continue to “supervisethis person with integrity”.
On the basis of Christian values, JL preferred to stay in a professional relationship when there were concerns: “… to abandon them just because they are having adifficult time doesn’t seem to be very responsible”. Difficulties within the supervisionrelationship need to be worked through, she suggested: “I would first of all endeavourto face into that difficulty. I’d make sure my supervisee was becoming aware of whatwas happening. And we’d work out together what we’d do to work with that .” Clarification of responsibility through contracting JL’s action is based on clear contracting. Negotiation and clarification within eachsupervision relationship was emphasised by all participants. A contract “lay[s] outwhat I offer and it spell[s] out the boundary between personal work and supervision,and what I see as my role and the limits to confidentiality; and what I expect of super-visees” (MO).
I’ve grown more aware of how important that contracting is at the beginning –being very exhaustive and clear about what that is … what I can offer, what kind ofaccountability is needed, what kind of orientation they want to have in supervision.
(AC) Other networks in supervisor responsibility Agencies and counsellor education programmes
Supervision within an agency carries a greater sense of responsibility than externalsupervision, suggested AC. PR explained the difference: If I have line responsibility for people who I supervise in an agency then I amresponsible for their practice because that goes with the authority invested in myposition. That’s different to a counsellor coming to me and we have once a monthconversation and I have a window into their practice at that time. I don’t see thatI have the authority to pick up the responsibility. Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand While SW suggested responsibility to agencies is “through the person who comes for supervision”, some agencies require a report from external supervisors (MO). Whensupervising students, noted SW, he may have a responsibility to the learning institu-tion that “trusts that this person is getting good supervision”. He reported occasionsof concern when a student used supervision “for rubber stamping: ticking the super-vision hours”; “my responsibility was to talk through my discomfort and get it clear,get the ground shifted”. Again, we see a supervisor taking responsibility for initiatingaction.
The effects of “the whole market-driven approach” of tertiary institutions worried SW: “I sometimes feel the supervisor is handed a lot of responsibility for what is notbeing done in another court [the institution].” In contrast, EN reported confidence in the networks of support for student coun- Having myself been in a counsellor training programme, I know the supervisionthat’s done by academic staff, so I don’t feel the degree of responsibility … Thosecounsellors in training I supervise are also working with an agency that assumessome responsibility for them, so it feels as if they are well supervised. Supervision of supervision
Four participants mentioned supervision of supervision, two noting its significance infurther sharing responsibility.
Vetting processes for new supervision relationships
Two participants valued an initial free session to explore mutual interests withpotential participants before either party committed to supervision together. Twoparticipants had declined requests: I had heard from other colleagues about some very dodgy, unsafe practice. I tookit to supervision myself. I had to really ask myself … did I really want to take onsomeone who had a bit of a reputation for being very sloppy around genderboundaries … I think that was to do with responsibility, I just felt that it was goingto be really quite hard work. (PR) Responsibility to the profession for new members
Seven supervisors expressed willingness to work with new counsellors: “I think it isvery important that they get good supervision” (BT); “I have a responsibility to my Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White profession. I have learned from others and as you grow older in your profession Ibelieve you have a moral responsibility to give back” (AC).
There are also pleasures in working with new counsellors: There’s … a real openness to pulling their work apart and to putting it out on thetable, their fears, their wonderings. There’s a wonderful freshness. (EN) They’ve got lots of questions and they are very open and they’re able to really lookat their practice. Particularly if they are in training they have got a culture of self-reflection. (PR) Insurance
All participants had insurance cover, provided by employers or purchased privately,although some were unsure whether their insurance cover included supervision work.
Insurance cover was a “backstop”: “I assume that if there was a breach … if acomplaint was made against them [the counsellor] then I would also be brought intothe web of responsibility” (MO). “If we have high insurances won’t that actuallyencourage litigation? Is that a track we want to go down in New Zealand?” AC asked.
Supervision and legal liabilities
It would be helpful to clarify what each partner in supervision is legally liable for,suggested GI, noting a discrepancy between professional and legal understanding: “Idon’t see my role … as overseeing another person’s work, that kind of monitoring,policing aspect.” JL favoured a response based on professional terms: “The law doesn’tadd anything … It leaves a whole pile of things out … It is just a last-ditch measure,so we can all sleep safely in our beds.” For others a growing sense of litigious possibility has problematic effects: There might grow this tendency of a preoccupation with supervision safety andminimising risk. And moving away from creative and appropriate risk taking inthe skill development of the counsellor. (BT) When I read Simon Jefferson’s [NZAC Newsletter] article … it’s almost scary:what am I letting myself in for here? Do I want to be liable for somebody else’s badpractice? (EN) Other worrying aspects of the responsibility of supervision
Three participants expressed concerns about a general “lack of clarity” around respon-sibility (GI). DF’s main worry came from “really heart in mouth stuff, suicide, violence, Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand domestic violence” where crises may develop despite quality professional care.
Some participants expressed no worrying concerns around responsibility. PR advocated being “clear about the limits of responsibility and not taking on worry forsomeone else’s practice”. Networks of responsibility ease personal responsibility: “…we need to have an idea of our place in the scheme of things. Then we don’t get over-whelmed by the burden of it” (JL). Such comments contrast with ideas about super-visors carrying ultimate responsibility. “In the scheme of things”, there is the possibilitythat supervision is part of a network of support.
The pleasures of responsibility in supervision Participants all reported enjoying the working relationship in supervision:“Satisfaction and quite a deep pleasure arise in the process of sharing and discoveryand exploration that we undertake together” (BT). Mutuality and collegiality were asource of pleasure: “… the co-generation of ideas, the responding to each other: it’snot a one-sided thing” (GI). The productivity of being joined in a professionalcommunity was personally and professionally enriching for participants.
While these data are drawn from only a small group of supervisors, this exploratorystudy offers a New Zealand account of the concerns and interests of supervisors as a basis for local debate about the responsibilities of supervision. There was littlediscussion of culture, or other markers of difference, in respect of supervisor respon-sibility, a limitation produced by the general nature of the inquiry we offered.
Distinctions between legal and ethical responsibilities might have been more sharplydrawn in our interview questions.
While participants agreed that supervisors are responsible for the quality of the workthey do in the supervision room, supervisor responsibility for counsellor practice andso for client well-being or safety, “clinical responsibility” (King, 2001), was a matterabout which participants took a number of positions.
We identify three positions, with some overlap, in respect of responsibility for coun- sellor practice. Firstly, some participants argued that supervisors’ responsibility was todo with their duty of care in supervision, and they could not be responsible for a coun-sellor’s practice, or for clients: “… the supervisor’s responsibility for the counsellingwork and for the well-being of the client is strictly limited” (King, 2001, p. 19). Thereare limits to what supervisors could know about the counselling due to time con- Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White straints and their absence from the counselling room. Supervisory responsibility isexercised when counsellors are supported to “resource themselves”, it was suggested. Asupervision that offers counsellors opportunities to resource themselves well preparescounsellors to act as moral agents in their counselling practice (Crocket, 2001).
A second position proposed greater vigilance, where supervisors are alert for subtle clues to potential client risk or inappropriate counsellor behaviour. A broader duty ofcare takes the supervisor beyond working with what the counsellor brings. Discussingthe discourse of supervisor responsibility, Crocket described a supervision that appor-tions more responsibility for vigilance to the supervisor as producing “a suspiciouspaternalism” (2001, p. 154). When responsibility is exercised in this way, supervisorsand counsellors are positioned to take up different roles and tasks: collaboration andmutuality become harder to work for.
The third position focused more on shared responsibility, exemplified by one super- visor’s commitment to seeing through even the most difficult things. Connection isbuilt to a network of responsibility, including counsellor education programmes,agencies, and supervisors’ supervisors. There is an apparent contrast between oneparticipant comment that it is important not to be overburdened by a sense of respon-sibility and another of being at the end of the line as the supervisor consulted aboutclient safety. Even at the end of the line, however, that participant was connected to anetwork of responsibility: she consulted her own supervisor. In this third descriptionof supervisor responsibility supervision takes place as part of a networked communityof professional relationships and responsibilities. In this position, efforts to describeresponsibility as singularly located tend to break down.
In the light of differing ideas about responsibility and worry about potential liability, arguments for clear contracting at the beginning of and during supervisionrelationships have important implications. Clear working agreements also provide forthe possibility of supervisors initiating action in response to concerns. The positionthat responsibility is a matter to be worked out within particular supervisionrelationships reflects Jenkins’ (2001) point that a supervisor’s legal liability is carrieddifferently in different settings. It contrasts with King and Wheeler’s (1999) tentativeconclusion that professional associations might provide more formally delineated andprescriptive codes of ethics and practice. Some New Zealand participants looked forclear distinctions between legal and professional responsibilities. Such distinctions,directly relevant to the local context, would support both professional creativity andthe current relative freedom, from a strong need to protect oneself, that makespossible a general willingness to supervise new practitioners.
Responsibility in Counselling Supervision in New Zealand We did not doubt that all participants took their supervisory responsibilities seriously;what differs is how those responsibilities were interpreted. Working to articulate theextents/limits of supervisor responsibility, participants employed expressions such asultimately, at the end of the day, the very last analysis. This rhetorical device mayhighlight the hypothetical nature of the question for these supervisors: perhaps forparticipants the end of the day when they would be held accountable for a criticalmatter has not arisen and in everyday local practice the extents of supervisor respon-sibility are not sharply delineated.
While in extremis situations may have been hypothetical, participants had protec- tion for their practice through insurance cover. Most notably, and in contrast to thereluctance of their UK counterparts to expose themselves by supervising new practi-tioners (King, 2001), these supervisors willingly supervised new counsellors, identify-ing with their needs for quality supervision and enjoying the openness to reflection ofthose in education programmes. Perhaps our professional culture, without publishedprecedent to advise otherwise, supports a sense of responsibility among senior prac-titioners towards others, and thus supports the building of a professional community.
If this is the case, we argue that this strength is worth preserving lest we, too, findourselves positioned as individuals turning others away for fear of the burdens and theconsequences of a singularly located responsibility.
Two participants had turned away practitioners whose reputations caused concern, because of the demands of the work involved or distaste for such association, ratherthan fears of legal responsibilities. This incidence of vetting is lower than that whichKing and Wheeler (1999) reported. Supervisor availability is likely to have manypossible explanations: perhaps a sense of responsibility to the profession; perhaps theopportunities for creativity and collegiality participants reported; and perhaps theeconomics of private practice. We suggest such goodwill is to be valued and fostered.
This study suggests that supervisors agree about some responsibilities of quality super-vision: developing negotiated agreements that clarify responsibility; paying attentionto the development of the supervision relationship; being accountable for their super-vision practice; and raising matters of concern. While there was neither consistency norclarity in respect of the limits and extents of supervisor responsibility, there was no evi-dence that supervisors sought further prescription of their responsibilities.
Participants made important claims for collaboration, mutuality and collegiality and for investing responsibility in networks of professional relationship and centring Kathie Crocket, Desmond Cooper, John Crockett, Jill Elder, Paul Flanagan, Peter Horide, Susan Mortlock, Glen Silvester, Wendy Talbot, Carol White responsibility in the supervision relationship. There were few references to NZAC orto the Code of Ethics; participants for the most part looked to their own practice expe-rience and expertise. These two sets of resources might be put together more closely.
This study suggests that supervisors might best take up the responsibilities of super-vision through negotiating supervision agreements that establish clear shared under-standing about how responsibility is carried in particular situations. It also suggeststhat an ethic of care and goodwill, such as that exercised towards new counsellors, ismost likely to be supported in a professional culture that enacts trust in the practicewisdom and goodwill of its members.
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The authors thank Dr Monica Payne for comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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