Supervision

The supervisor is ultimately responsible for quality control and can be held accountable for the professional services being provided by the person being supervised. There are also several forms of supervision, such as, administrative and clinical supervision in agencies and organizations, supervision of persons gaining experience for licensure purposes, supervision in training situations, and, the supervision that is often given in groups or to individuals who have personally engaged a psychologist to provide the supervision. While there are some differences in the various forms of supervision, psychologists who provide supervision are engaged in the practice of psychology.

When a psychologist agrees to serve as a supervisor, there are specific areas that should be addressed in advance so that all parties understand their duties and obligations:

  1. The nature and terms of the relationship should be spelled out in advance, including:
    • The limits of confidentiality, including, but not limited to, the mandate for reporting child abuse
    • The information that the supervisor can report to the supervisee's employer in an employment setting
    • The limits of what the supervisor can do if s/he has questions about the nature or quality of the practice being reviewed
    • The supervisor's ultimate responsibility to the person receiving supervision
  2. When the supervisor's signature is required on a record or insurance form, the psychologist should be fully aware of the ramifications of that signature. Supervisors should consult with the insurance company or their attorney if there are questions about completing insurance forms for supervisees who work in agency or private practice settings as employees.
  3. If a supervisor is involved when a professional service is performed, it is wise to inform the recipient of the psychological service and to get his or her consent, to avoid various future complications, including issues of confidentiality.
  4. When psychologists act as supervisors for persons gaining experience for licensure purposes, the supervisee should not directly engage or pay the supervisor, and the supervisor should not accept payment directly from the supervisee for supervision that would lead to course credit in academic programs or licensure. Payment should be made by the educational program or by the agency employing the intern or assistant psychologist. When a supervisor accepts payment directly from the supervisee in these situations, it could be considered a conflict of interest and dual relationship.
  5. Supervisors should recognize that they might be held accountable and/or charged with professional misconduct for the professional misconduct of a supervisee.
  6. It is wise to keep records of each supervisory session, including compensation, if any, and to provide documentation of the supervision to those who require such verifications on behalf of and, where necessary, with the consent of the supervisee.

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Last Updated: June 11, 2009