Supervisor Perceptions of Relational Competence: Core Components and Developmental Considerations

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This study aimed to explore clinical supervisors’ perspectives on the components of the relationship competency. The constituents of relational competence have been articulated by expert committees, and the present study sought to add to this literature through understanding these competencies from Australian field supervisors’ perspectives. In the present study, supervisors were asked to provide relational competence definitions and specific behavioral markers they use in assessing supervisee competence within their supervision practice. They were then asked to describe the developmental trajectory of relational competence among their supervisees, ranging from novice to intermediate and expert stages. Similarities and notable differences between previous expert panels and the current sample were observed in comparing data on the development of relational competence. A unique aspect of this study is that compared with previous expert panels, the current sample greatly emphasized the ability to understand relational data in the moment and to speak directly about the therapeutic relationship with the client. The results of this study offer useful, in-depth descriptions of supervisee progress in the development of relational competence. Consideration of competence markers within a sequential trajectory offers a useful map for the ongoing development and evaluation of these abilities.

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