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Beyond the Dyad: Broadening the APA Supervision Guidelines to Include Group Supervision


Group supervision is an extensively used format across many training agencies, yet it has been largely disregarded in theory and research within the supervision literature. In fact, the Guidelines for Clinical Supervision in Health Service Psychology (American Psychological Association, 2015a) mentions group supervision only one time, despite the fact that supervision within a group context includes competencies and considerations that are both unique and essential to the effective and ethical practice of group supervision. Because supervision conducted with multiple supervisees is multilayered andas a resultmore complex, group supervisors need to develop special skills that go beyond the supervision dyad. This article looks to the literature on supervisionboth individual and group modalitiesand on group psychotherapy to highlight the practices and processes that set group supervision apart. Building upon the seven supervision competencies outlined by the American Psychological Association (Supervisor Competence; Diversity; Supervisory Relationship; Professionalism; Assessment/Evaluation/Feedback; Professional Competence Problems; and Ethical, Legal and Regulatory Considerations), which currently concentrate exclusively on individual supervision, we extend each area to include distinct features of group supervision. We include recommendations for supervisor training and for the application of effective group supervision practices, as well as ideas on how best to approach the formal adoption of group supervision guidelines for psychotherapists. Our hope is that, either in a revision of the Guidelines for Clinical Supervision in Health Service Psychology or in a freestanding supplement to the Guidelines, guidance for group supervision will be more explicitly included.


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Maria Riva is a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. She co-edited the Handbook of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (2004; 2014), co-authored a chapter in Applied Psychological Ethics (2018), entitled Ethical Considerations in Group Psychotherapy, and published several other articles including those on group supervision. Riva has been honored as a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Specialists in Group Work. Riva was the Chair of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP). She is affiliated with the American Psychological Association and the American Group Psychotherapy Association. She is on the editorial board of several journals. Her research interests include group psychotherapy, training and supervision, cultural diversity, and group supervision.

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