Promoting a Climate of Reflective Practice and Clinician Self-Efficacy in Vertical Supervision

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Supervision in psychology, particularly related to psychotherapy, aims to promote clinical and professional competencies for learners while ultimately ensuring the effective and ethical delivery of patient care. Although clinical psychologists receive intensive education and training in reflective practices for psychotherapy, they typically receive little preparation for applying these practices to clinical supervision. A task force of the American Psychological Association recently released a comprehensive set of clinical supervision guidelines asserting the essential role of reflective communication in clinical supervisory practice (APA, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to introduce ways of incorporating reflective practice into clinical supervision in order to enhance the learner’s clinical self-efficacy and independence. First presented is an operational definition of reflective practices accompanied by illustrations of ways in which these practices can extend the quality of evidence-based clinical interventions. Second, a vertical supervision model is introduced, and a variety of supervision modalities for enhancing reflective practices are presented. Finally, the implications of these processes for scaffolding the development of clinician self-efficacy for a range of learners from a variety of disciplines are discussed. These processes are highlighted further within a series of personal reflections shared from clinicians across these different developmental stages.

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