ERIC Identifier: ED372357
Publication Date: 1994-04-00
Author: Casey, John A. - And Others
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Use of Technology in Counselor Supervision. ERIC Digest.
Each generation of new technology, from audiotapes and videotapes to fax
machines and virtual reality, creates challenges and opportunities for the
counseling supervisor. Increased use of computer related technologies has given
this generation of supervisors new ideas for integrating technology within both
practicum and internship stages of training.
PRACTICUM: NETWORKED COMPUTERS, PERSONAL DIGITAL
At the practicum stage of supervision (when students work with
actual clients under direct supervision), technological aids are rapidly opening
up new windows of opportunity for both live and delayed supervision.
The telephone and the "bug-in-the-ear" are
probably the two best known traditional methods of live supervision. A
supervisor, observing a session from an adjacent room through a one-way mirror,
sends and receives messages to the counseling students as the session
progresses. One limitation of these approaches, however, has been its disruptive
intrusion on the counseling process.
More recently, two networked computers have been employed to accomplish the
same interchange (Neukrug, 1991). The supervisor observing behind the mirror
transmits messages by keyboard entry to the supervisee, who reads the messages
and can respond similarly with keyboard entry to the supervisor.
Two networked computers offer additional opportunities. A client completing a
standardized instrument online, such as the Diagnostic Interview for Children
and Adolescents-Revised(TM) (Reich et al., 1990), could receive the results
during the same session. Persons in the observation room could send additional
interpretative hypotheses, aided by access to databases either on CD-ROM locally
or through modem and telephone link to a remote location, to the supervisee.
Whether networked computers offer less disruptive intrusion than the
telephone or "bug-in-the-ear" is an open question. New advances in personal
digital assistants (PDA's), such as the Apple Newton(TM), may provide less
intrusive alternatives. The PDA is a small, pocketsized device that recognizes
handwritten communication. PDA's will ultimately be capable of simplifying a
variety of tasks in supervision with less intrusion upon the counseling process.
These could include:
to remote locations for database searches or journal inquiry, e.g. ERIC
calls and faxes
and printing of forms and documents
scoring and interpretation.
After a session is completed, students
frequently replay audio and videotapes for supervision purposes. Increased
availability and affordability of VCR's has allowed students to review tapes and
prepare selected segments for later process in supervision meetings. Dual track
recording has allowed supervisors to record comments on one track while the
session's original soundtrack is preserved on the alternate track. Dual track
recording has also been used to accommodate bilingual translations.
The use of technology in delayed supervision has also been reported to review
psychophysiological data where emotional states of the supervisee were inferred
from electromyograph (EMG), skin conductance levels (SCL), and skin temperature
monitoring. Froehle (1984) described videotaping a split screen, with one camera
fixed on the counseling session and a second concurrently filming the
"Disk swapping" between supervisor and supervisee could allow for paperless
submission and evaluation of such practicum paperwork as case notes and case
studies. These case notes and case studies, combined with segments of videotaped
counseling sessions transferred to disc, could lead to an "electronic portfolio"
to demonstrate attainment of specific counseling skills competencies.
INTERNSHIP: ELECTRONIC CONNECTIVITY
When the supervisee
leaves the campus for internship, communication with the supervisor is often
limited to phone calls or voice mail messages, periodic supervision meetings
held weekly or monthly, and anxiety-filled onsite visits. It can be hours, days,
or even weeks before a message is returned.
Advances in electronic connectivity present several innovative possibilities
for more efficient internship communication utilizing a computer, modem, phone
jack, communications software, and an account on an electronic network. The most
well known current examples of electronic connectivity are through services such
as the Internet, America On-Line(TM), CompuServ(TM), and Prodigy(TM).
Advantages of electronic connectivity might best be observed by examining
TeacherNet (Casey, 1990). TeacherNet, begun in 1989 at California State
University, Long Beach, links through electronic conferencing and e-mail, 15
student teachers, 7 classroom teachers, and 11 university based resource people
(the direct supervisor plus experts in related fields). Members of TeacherNet
sign in with their password through their computer and modem to a local phone
number. They then check the "teacher's lounge" for public notices that may be of
interest and enter reactions or new postings for others to read. They may choose
to send or review private communications exchanged with one or several other
network participants. Any written communication can be saved on the members' own
computer for future reference. Student teachers are given free loan by the
university of the hardware and software for the year, in exchange for a
commitment to log on daily to the TeacherNet. A 1990 evaluation of the project
indicated participants experienced:
widespread sense of connectedness over isolation,
frequent and more thoughtful contact between supervisor and supervisee,
opportunities for collaboration and input from a wider spectrum of consultants,
for the expanded range of topics the network triggered, including job
frustrations and satisfactions, classroom management strategies, and career
with efficient exchange of paperless communication that is easily stored,
edited, and retrieved.
The International Counselor Network (ICN) is another model of electronic
connectivity that can provide supervision opportunities. Accessible through
Internet (and America OnLine(TM) to those without direct Internet connectivity),
the ICN operates through Vanderbilt University and offers nonconfidential
supervision through hundreds of counseling practitioners and graduate students
around the world. Initial public communication through the ICN can lead to
direct e-mail communication between individuals. As of January 1994, over 200
counselors subscribed to the ICN. A cursory review of the hundreds of messages
posted in 1993 shows discussions on such topics as AIDS/HIV, learning styles
inventories, early intervention programs, consultation, child abduction, and
suicide prevention. A large, public network like the ICN appears to offer
informational resources while a smaller network like TeacherNet seems to
emphasize interpersonal process. Other "mailserv's" and "listserv's" of interest
to counselors continue to grow through the Internet and elsewhere.
Compressed video is another form of supervision among remote locations. The
University of Wyoming coordinates a video telephone conference call among
Wyoming counselors at a scheduled, periodic meeting time. Unlike the ICN, the
compressed video conference operates in "real time," with all participants on
the telephone lines simultaneously.
LIMITATIONS AND ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
A wide range of
limitations and ethical considerations must be considered when using making
appropriate use of technology. Confidentiality, for example, is nearly
impossible to guarantee when using wireless communication over airwaves or
sending messages through the INTERNET. For a more detailed discussion on
limitations and ethical considerations, the reader is encouraged to reference
Engels et al. (1984) and Phillips (1984).
Technological advances have created a multitude of
challenges and opportunities for counselors in supervision. From practicum to
internship, strategies for improving the supervision experience can be utilized
with the appropriate ethical integration of technology.
Casey, J. (1993). Counseling using technology
with at-risk youth. In Striving for excellence: The national education goals,
Volume II. Washington, DC: ERIC, 1993.
Casey, J. (1990). TeacherNet: Student teachers form a community of teachers.
California Technology Project Quarterly, 2, 28-29.
Engels, D., Caulum, D., and Sampson D. (1984) Computers in counselor
education: An ethical perspective. Counselor Education and Supervision, 24,
Froehle, T. (1984). Computer-assisted feedback in counseling supervision.
Counselor Education and Supervision, 24, 168-175.
Lambert, M. (1988). Computers in counselor education: Four years after a
special issue. Counselor Education and Supervision, 88, 100-105.
Neukrug, E. (1991). Computer-assisted live supervision in counselor skills
training. Counselor Education and Supervision, 31, 132-138.
Reich, W., Welner, Z., and Herjanic, B. (1990). Diagnostic interview for
children and adolescents-revised--Computer program: Child/Adolescent Version and
Parent Version. North Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.
Wagman, M. and Kerber, K. (1984). Computer-assisted counseling: Problems and
prospects. Counselor Education and Supervision, 24, 142-154.