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Supervision Model for Psychological Assessments

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1613 words Published: 9th Aug 2018

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Smith and Harty (1987) were pioneers in providing a model of supervision for conducting psychological assessments. Their model put forth that the supervisor’s responsibility is to ensures that the beginning supervisee accurately score their protocols and help him/her respectively create and order hypotheses by clinical relevance and amount of certainty. Additionally, this model features the supervisor having expectations that the supervisee will individually generate hypotheses while the supervisor judges and double-checks his/her work. The final portion of Smith and Harty’s model entails the supervisor serving as a consultant to the supervisee once the supervisee is competent.

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Finkelstein and Tuckman (1997) build upon Smith and Harty’s model by adding onto what is typically already done by supervisors (i.e., modeling the behavior of their own mentors when they received supervision in the past). Specifically, Finkelstein and Tuckman outline a model of supervisee development from beginner to expert. The first step for supervisors to teach supervisees is entitled “Learning the Basics of Test Administration and Scoring.” In this step, the supervisor serves as a “tour guide” for information found in test manuals (e.g., testing conditions and general scoring rules), teaches “macro-level scoring” of each test (e.g., calculating IQs, percentiles, and age levels), and emphasizes the pros and cons for each tests and how it can best answer corresponding referral questions. The next step, entitled “Generating Primary Inferences”, involves extrapolating inferences from all aspects of the assessment process including tests, behavioral observations, and relevant history. During this step, the supervisor’s role is to explain the rationale for the generated hypotheses, address how experience aids competence in hypothesis development, and curtail idealization of the supervisor and devaluation of the supervisee’s own abilities. The third step in this model involves clustering related hypotheses. This step involves the supervisor helping the supervisee integrate multiple sources of data into digestible patterns and clusters that will ultimately be documented in an outline that serves to guide the formal report. The fourth step, entitled “From Outline to the Written Word,” involves the supervisor’s role in helping the supervisee convert the outline into a useful report (e.g., proofreading, suggesting revisions, and preparing supervisee to provide feedback).

The fifth stage in this model, entitled “Internalizing Diagnostic Norms,” is designed for more advanced students who have mastered basic assessment skills and are in need of more “content knowledge.” Specifically, the supervisor’s role in this stage involves ensuring exposure to a wide variety of assessment questions and helping the supervisee recognize patterns and deviations in test results and specific patient populations. The sixth stage encourages autonomy and promotes consultation when there is less need for direct guidance. The authors state that supervisors need to be aware that this stage often involves a “dynamic tension” between autonomy and dependence for the supervisee. The sixth stage involves the supervisor encouraging complete autonomy for the supervisee, which typically occurs after one has obtained his/her license and will be generating reports independently. The final stage in this model involves the former supervisor helping the former supervisee transition into becoming a supervisor for the next generation and serving as a consultant throughout this life-long process. Regarding the take home message for their model, Finkelsten and Tuckman proclaim that this interpersonal and intrapersonal process should produces supervisee that are able to master assessment by integrating “all the various and diverse introjects from past supervisors into a unique self (p. 95).”

Yalof and Abraham (2009) summarize core supervisory considerations and promote an integrative approach to supervision that is aimed to strengthen psychological report writing and improve preinternship preparation for psychology graduate students. The first area these authors address is regarding assessment competency and citing the foundational skills in assessment education and training (e.g., psychometrics, theory) outlined in the 2002 Psychological Assessment Work Group (PAWG: Krishnamurthy et al., 2004). Next, the authors describe the various developmental stages that supervisees evolve from and outline several markers that are used to define “assessment” competency. From this point, Yalof and Abraham go into greater detail regarding multicultural supervision. Specifically, they encourage supervisors to help supervisees address differences in cultural background and determine if assessment measures are culturally sensitive (Allen, 2007) as well as discuss the importance of attending to personal and community histories (Hernández, 2008). Next, Yalof and Abraham advise supervisors to help supervisees consider ethical applications and acculturation in assessment. Furthermore, the authors cite the APA Ethical principles and standards (2002) as a good starting point for supervisees to develop their own ethical identity. Furthermore, the supervisor needs to address how the supervisee should best adapt different learning strategies that will promote greater integration within the practice of psychological assessment (Handelsman, Gottlieb, & Knapp, 2008).

Next, Yalof and Abraham spell out seven supervisory techniques that draw upon extant literature to promote growth in assessment supervisees. The first technique involves providing information related to ethical practice in assessment including risk management strategies (e.g., documentation, informed consent, consultation). The next technique involves emphasizing the skills that correspond with rapport building and diagnostic interviewing. The third technique suggests that supervisees be provided with extra practice activities (e.g., scoring protocols, reading sample reports, critiquing reports) that will further their respective competency. The fourth technique advises supervisees to conduct a literature review regarding the referral question to become more familiarized. The fifth technique promotes supplemental peer supervision as it promotes collegiality, socialization, and a collaborative learning environment for learners. The sixth technique suggests that the unconscious influences between the client, supervisee, and supervisor that occur throughout an assessment explicitly be explored. Finally, the supervisor needs to encourage and promote critical thinking skills corresponding to which ever developmental stage the supervisee is currently in. Yalof and Abraham recommend Johnson-Laird’s typology of thought (e.g., inductive thinking, associative thinking, creative thinking, and self-reflective thinking) to help guide supervision. The final portion of this article features a case illustration to demonstrate how supervisory probes encourage growth and development for the supervisee. The take home message for this article revolves around the supervisor’s ability to most effectively intervene in the supervisee’s cases. Specifically, Yalof and Abraham propose that the supervisor needs to thoughtfully and instructively probe the supervisee throughout the assessment process to maximize conceptual, critical, and creative thinking regarding the client.


Allen, J. (2007). A multicultural assessment supervision model to guide research and practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38(3), 248-258. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.38.3.248

American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical standards and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.

Finkelstein, H., & Tuckman, A. (1997). Supervision of psychological assessment: A developmental model. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28(1), 92-95. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.28.1.92

Handelsman, M. M., Gottlieb, M. C., & Knapp, S. (2008). Training ethical psychologists: An acculturation model. In D. N. Bersoff & D. N. Bersoff (Eds.), Ethical conflicts in psychology (4th ed.). (pp. 122-127). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Hernández, P. (2008). The cultural context model in clinical supervision. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 2(1), 10-17. doi: 10.1037/1931-3918.2.1.10

Smith, W. H., & Harty, M. K. (1987). Issues in the supervision of diagnostic testing. In R. H. Dana, W. T. May, R. H. Dana & W. T. May (Eds.), Internship training in professional psychology. (pp. 410-418). Washington, DC, US: Hemisphere Publishing Corp.

Yalof, J., & Abraham, P. (2009). An integrative approach to assessment supervision. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 73(3), 188-202. doi: 10.1521/bumc.2009.73.3.188


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