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Cardona, Betty

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While existing literature indicates the importance of supervision in counselor training (Bernard & Goodyear; 2003; Harris & Hayes, 2008; Lofrisco, 2013) and counseling efficacy with sexual topics (Bidell, 2005; Harris & Hayes, 2008), counselor educators’ role with supervising client sexual issues is unknown. Currently, 50% of American Counseling Association (ACA) members report uncertainty in how to address sexual concerns with clients (Blount, Booth, Webb, & Liles, 2017). As supervision is paramount in counselor training (Bernard & Goodyear, 2003) and Counselors in Training (CITs) increasingly inquire about working with sexual topics, a study in supervisor experiences with sexual topics is timely. Supervisors’ role in increasing student comfort and efficacy could be crucial, as often times supervision is the only opportunity for graduate students to speak about practicum and internship experiences that include client sexual topics. Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) programs include extensive supervision training but with the lack of training specific to sexuality in both masters and doctoral programs, the experiences of supervision of sexual topics is not yet understood. This dissertation study addresses the gap in the literature through the phenomenological examination of 13 counselor educators about their supervision experiences with sexual topics. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Resulting eight themes were managing conflicting emotions, creating conditions, values, advocacy, student focus, language, multicultural competency and student autonomy. Findings suggest participant experiences include working with process rather than focusing on content expertise in human sexuality. Participant tools include checking student reactions, the origins of reactions, helping students access empathy, and encouraging students to reflect on the tension the client might be experiencing, to move the supervision conversation into a process focus when it comes to human sexuality topics. Future research suggestions include closer examination of the research themes, to help supervisors develop specific tools and perhaps a supervision model, to assist with human sexuality supervision.


229 pages

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