Supervisors’ Reports of the Effects of Supervisor Self-Disclosure on Supervisees

Sarah Knox, Marquette University
Alan Burkard, Marquette University
Lisa Edwards, Marquette University
Jacquelyn J. Smith, Marquette University
Lewis Z. Schlosser, Seton Hall University

Psychotherapy Research, Vol. 18, No. 5 (2008): 543-559. DOI.


Using consensual qualitative research, researchers interviewed 16 supervisors regarding their use of self-disclosure in supervision. Supervisors reported that their prior training in supervisor self-disclosure (SRSD) came via didactic sources and encouraged judicious use of SRSD. Supervisors used SRSD to enhance supervisee development and normalize their experiences; supervisors did not use SRSD when it derailed supervision or was developmentally inappropriate for supervisees. In describing specific examples of the intervention, SRSD occurred in good supervision relationships, was stimulated by supervisees struggling, was intended to teach or normalize, and focused on supervisors’ reactions to their own or their supervisees’ clients. SRSD yielded largely positive effects on supervisors, supervisees, the supervision relationship, and supervisors’ supervision of others.