Clinical supervision is now recognized as a distinct professional competency in the field of psychology (APA, 2015). It is a primary method for training new clinicians, providing quality assurance, and ensuring client welfare (Falender & Shafranske, 2004). However, even within the most well-intentioned supervision, counterproductive experiences (CEs) are known to sometimes occur. These can significantly interfere with the supervisory process and often result in a strained supervisory alliance, interfere with clinical training, contribute to a negative training experience, and decrease a supervisor’s ability to monitor client welfare and supervisee’s ethical behavior. The purpose of this study was to contribute to ongoing research aimed at developing an empirically-validated scale for use in assessing the frequency, effects, and causes of CEs that occur within clinical supervision. A national sample of 188 predoctoral psychology interns anonymously completed an online survey which presented them with 60 CEs (derived from the theoretical and empirical literature) and organized by into 7 supervisory domains (APA, 2015). The interns were asked to rate, and rank order, short lists of CEs based on anticipated negative supervisory impact. Results indicated that all CEs were expected to have at least a minimal adverse impact, consistent with the results of previous studies involving the opinions of supervision experts, doctoral students, and clinical training directors. Further, when the results are viewed by APA supervisory domain, one finds that every domain contains between 2 to 8 of the most highly rated CEs. Many of the most highly-rated CEs related to negative interpersonal interactions (e.g., insensitivity, disrespect, misused power). Areas considered most impactful (e.g., boundary violations) and most potentially harmful (e.g., ethical lapses) are discussed. These results contribute to the development of a preliminary scale of counterproductive experiences in supervision. An argument is made for organizing the final scale by APA supervisory domain to improve content validity and ensure applicability to future supervision training efforts. Recommended research directions are also explored.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Clinical psychologists -- Supervision of; Interns (Clinical psychology) -- Case studies; Organizational change

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Shafranske, Edward;