Li studies trainer-trainee relationship

Yaya Pineda
Staff Writer

Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeanie Li discussed the link between healthy relationships between supervisors and supervisees and psychological well being during her lecture Monday in the President’s Dining Room.

Titled “Exploring Super­vision Priorities, Process and Outcome,” Li’s lecture was part of the weekly Faculty Lecture Series.

“I feel like there is a missing piece of the puzzle in all of this,” Li said. “Because of bad supervision 7 percent of supervisees leave the field all together.”

She explained that there was the supervisor, the supervisee, and the client.

She elaborated only on the importance of the relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee.

“It’s valuable to get feedback from the client,” said Glen Gamst, professor of psychology and chair of the psychology department.

In her preliminary research Li found that those who are given the role of supervisors are rarely ever trained but are instead asked to abide by a competence-based supervision model that comes from the American Psychological Association.

“There were no courses in supervision offered when I was in school in the ‘80s,” Associate Professor of Psychology Richard Rogers said. “I teach the course in the doctoral program on advanced supervision.”

Though the guidelines are clear in what they wish the supervisors to achieve it is not clear how they are to accomplish it. This is where Li’s research comes in.

She began by sitting a random sample of supervisors and supervisees at a table, and each were given a stack of flashcards.

The flashcards contained 10 values that have been deemed crucial in the supervisor and supervisee interaction.

The participants were asked to rank those values in order of importance.

Then they compared what the supervisors deemed as more important versus what the supervisees wanted.

This was done with two groups and the results where similar for both.

The research indicated that supervisors thought validating feelings and allowing for debriefing were the most important aspects.

The majority of supervisees, on the other hand, felt that feedback and correction where the most important.

The implications of this study may go beyond the field of clinical psychology.

“Psychology is applicable to other fields,” said junior psychology major Gustav Sjobeck. “I think that’s going to promote other fields promote understanding.”

In the end it is not only important for both parties to communicate with one another but there needs to be accessibility to change.

Yaya Pineda can be reached at

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