VISTAS Counselor Education and Supervision

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Gatekeeping and Supervisory Intervention: Complex Ethical Processes

Kaye W. Nelson, Marvarene Oliver, John Reeve and Christine McNichols


When a trainee makes insufficient progress in a counselor education program, the supervisor faces the dilemma of determining appropriate educational, ethical, and legal responses. When lack of progress is not academic in nature, the issue may present a complex and emotionally stressful problem for both supervisee and supervisor. Johnson et al. (2008) maintain it is “…difficult to actively foster growth and development, to be compassionate, to be supportive, and to engage students as a mentor while simultaneously rendering objective and accurate summative evaluations” (p. 590). During our years of experience supervising counselor interns and doctoral student supervisors, we and our doctoral student supervisors have explored and grappled with what seems at times to be dual roles of student supervisor/mentor and gatekeeper of the profession. The purpose of this article is to present the results of those conversations and the related research as we learn to more competently assist supervisees as they strive to meet the standards for entering the field of counseling.

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