Individual and Dyadic Interventions


Supervisees report on their sessions. It is the most indirect method of supervision in that the supervisor totally relies on the information and experiences as reported by the supervisee. This method is only as good as the observational and conceptual abilities of the supervisee and the insightfulness of the supervisor (Bernard & Goodyear, 1998). It is generally not the method of choice for beginning counselors-in-training, but remains the most commonly used form of “postgraduate” supervision.

Process Notes

Supervisees write case notes after interactions with clients and then submit these to the supervisor. The use of case notes can provide a means of controlling the type of information offered in supervision. The supervisor can track the supervisee’s cognitive processes in a way that self-report, or even more active forms of supervision, disallow (Bernard & Goodyear, 1998).


Supervisees audio-record sessions (with client or guardian permission). It is important to note that there is typical resistant reaction to taping by supervisees. This reaction typically takes the form of “my client won’t be comfortable”. Although resistance to taping may be real and must be addressed with clients in a sensitive and ethical manner, it is often the trainee that experiences the greatest amount of discomfort. It is important that supervisors and supervisees address the process of introducing audiotaping into client sessions. Generally, the more comfortable the trainee is with taping, the more comfortable the client will be.
Audiotapes are incorporated into supervision in a variety of ways. The supervisor should be clear about the supervision process. In some instances, tapes are submitted to the supervisor prior to the scheduled supervision meeting. In other instances, supervisees are responsible for cueing tapes to particular section and then play the tape in the session. Often in training programs, tape scripts and written analysis of the audiotape are submitted in addition to the actual tapes.


Videotape has become the technology of choice in supervision. Many of the processes used with audiotapes are used with video. Obviously, videotape provides the means for “seeing” the counseling session – including the interaction between client and counselor. While there are many advantages to videotape, there are also cautions. There can be a tendency for trainees to “perform” while being taped. In addition, feedback can become overly critical and negative. Supervisors are encouraged to follow Breunlin, Karrer, McGuire, & Cimmarusti’s (1988) guidelines (as reported in Bernard & Goodyear, 1998, p. 99).

Supervision models such as Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR) and the Reflective Process have been suggested as useful with videotape supervision.

Live Observation –

In live observation, supervisors watch (through a one-way mirror or in the room) the trainee conduct the counseling sessions. There are many advantages to the use of live observation and it is employed when at all possible (often difficult in field experiences). It is important to note, that the supervisor does not typically interfere with the counseling session (exceptions would include crisis situations).