Leading Through Inquiry, Inclusion, and Action

Live Supervision

Live supervision is distinct from either individual or group supervision. The paradigmatic shift consists of two components: 1) the distinction between therapy and supervision seems less pronounced than in traditional supervision, and 2) the role of the supervisor is significantly changed to include both coaching and co-therapist dimensions (Bernard & Goodyear, 1998).
Obviously there are many logistics and issues to be addressed when using live supervision. It is dependent upon the supervisor to clearly address these issues with trainees and clients.
The general interventions employed in live supervision are outlined.


Supervisees wear a wireless earphone through which the supervisor can be heard. Therefore, the supervisor can coach the supervisee throughout the session. The benefit is that there is no direct interference with the flow of the therapy session. An obvious disadvantage is that it can be distracting to the supervisee if overused.

In Vivo

The supervisor is in the room with the supervisee and client. The supervisor does not engage in direct therapy, but instead the supervisee consults with the supervisor in the presence of the client.

The Walk-in

The supervisor enters the room at some deliberate time and interacts with the therapist and the client, and then leaves. Entering does not necessarily mean there is a crisis and can be used to redirect the session and to establish certain dynamics between the supervisor and the client or the therapist and the client.

Phone-ins and Consultation Breaks

As the name implies, the supervisor either phones in information, feedback, or instruction to the counselor, or knocks on the door and the supervisee steps out of the room to talk with the supervisor. In these instances, the client is not privy to what is discussed between the therapist and the supervisor.

Computer assisted live supervision

Sometimes referred to as “bug-in-the-eye” it has the same principles as bug-in-the-ear, but instead the supervisee gets information from a computer screen.