Quantitative assessment of the behavior of psychotherapy supervisors

Stephen B. Shanfield, Paul C. Mohl, Kenneth L. Matthews, Vroni Hetherly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the behavior of psychotherapy supervisors by using the Psychotherapy Supervision Inventory. Method: The authors used the Psychotherapy Supervision Inventory to rate 53 videotaped supervision sessions of 34 different supervisors. They also used the variable of the rater's perception of the excellence of the supervisor as a teacher. The data were subjected to a cluster analysis and a K-means analysis. Discriminant function analyses were applied to the comparison of the behavior of 19 supervisors with two different residents and the behavior of all 34 supervisors with residents in three different years of training. The relationship between rater-perceived excellence and Psychotherapy Supervision Inventory scores was analyzed by using stepwise multiple regression. Results: There was a high level of agreement among the four raters'judgments of supervisors' excellence. Empathy accounted for 72% of the variance in rater-perceived excellence and focus on the therapist accounted for an additional 5%. When empathy was dropped from the equation, experiential orientation accounted for 60% of the variance in ratings of excellence, clarification and interpretation accounted for an additional 16%, and depth accounted for another 3%. Conclusions: In the context of established relationships, supervisors have stable behavior patterns. Rater-perceived excellence is related to the supervisor's focusing on the resident's immediate experiences and making many synthesizing comments in depth. The Psychotherapy Supervision Inventory can be used to orient supervisors to supervision and provide feedback about their behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-357
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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