The Supervisory Process in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology

The Supervisory Process in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology

RATING: (3 of 5 ears)
AUTHORS: Elizabeth S. McCrea and Judith A. Brasseur
PUBLISHER: Allyn & Bacon
ISBN: 0-205-33662-0
COST: US$62.00 (hardcover)

REVIEWER: Lara D. DiLollo, M.S., Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas

SYNOPSIS: This book is based on the premise that "the objective of supervision is to develop independent professionals who, by means of their own professional knowledge and self-awareness as a service provider/supervisor and/or supervisee, can think critically, solve problems, and provide optimal services to communicatively disordered individuals." The purpose of this book is twofold: first, to integrate the past two decades of research in supervision with the conceptual model of the supervisory process introduced by Jean Anderson in the first edition of The Supervisory Process in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; and second, to turn this information into practical use by introducing tools and strategies to address common supervisory problems which are presented through case studies.

The authors make a point to emphasize that although they continue to use the terms "supervision" and "supervisor" they do this only out of respect to history. They state that this book focuses more on the ideals behind using the terms "clinical education" and "clinical educator."

REVIEW: Chapter 1 sets the scene for the following chapters through discussion of the tasks, titles, settings, complexities, and purposes of the supervisory process, along the way developing a working definition of "supervision" and its application to speech-language pathology and audiology. In chapter 2, the authors introduce the reader to Jean Anderson's "continuum model of supervision." This model discourages the development of a dependent relationship between the supervisor and supervisee, instead encouraging the relationship to become more like "peer-consultation" as a level of independence is reached by the supervisee with assistance from the supervisor. This model also stresses the importance of considering the needs of the supervisee, recognizing that those needs change among students and with time. Thus, the process is truly a continuum, suggesting that there are different styles and strategies that may all be appropriate at different times and in different circumstances. As a result, Anderson's continuum model recognizes that there is no one "correct" way to supervise. Chapter 3 begins with a discussion of what supervisors need to do as defined by ASHA's Position Statement on Clinical Supervision in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. The chapter is then focused on how supervisors are to carry out those tasks. This "how" component is addressed by introducing the five components of the supervisory process, which include understanding the supervisory process, planning, observing, analyzing, and integrating. Finally, there is a discussion of the need to demonstrate research skills in the supervisory process.

The five components of the supervisory process are expanded on in chapters 4 through 8. In chapter 4, the authors state that it is important for both the supervisor and supervisee to understand the supervisory process so that they are both in a position to observe, discuss and analyze it, which will enable them to tailor it to their needs. In chapter 5, they differentiate between planning for the clinical process and planning for the supervisory process, emphasizing that, although intertwined, they are separate processes that require dedicated time and effort. Observing in the supervisory process is discussed in chapter 6. The authors stress that the supervisor should have a clear idea of their purpose prior to observing a supervisee. They suggest that although the focus may vary, the primary purpose of an observation should be to collect data but avoid evaluative statements. Analyzing the supervisory process, discussed in chapter 7, is purposefully set apart from the observation process. Its purpose is to provide meaning to the data that have been collected during observation. The authors propose using the "scientific method" for analyzing data and remind the readers that the principles of analysis are applicable to both the clinical sessions and the supervisory conference. The final component of the supervisory process as defined by the authors is integrating the components as defined in chapter 8. This integration occurs through communication between supervisor and supervisee, traditionally in a conference. In integrating all of the previous components, the process suggested by the authors promotes a "richer synthesis of ideas" rather than the "old concept of supervisor-to-supervisee feedback." They suggest that, in addition to feedback about the clinical session, the conference should include conversation surrounding such topics as the supervisory process, report writing, and professional issues.

In chapter 9, several models for developing preparation programs for the supervisory process are discussed. Chapter 10 focuses on the issue of accountability. It provides a brief overview of the different variables related to accountability and argues that the nature of the supervisory process being advocated is, in itself, an accountability procedure. Supervision across different clinical settings is discussed briefly in chapter 11. It provides an informative overview of the off-campus practicum experience as well as the clinical fellowship. In chapter 12, the authors summarize the primary issues regarding the supervision of speech-language pathology assistants. In chapter 13, six speech-language pathology case studies in different work settings are presented to illustrate the information presented in the component chapters.

CRITIQUE: The book is well organized and easily read. It demands respect for the process of supervision, detailing the complex process and all its components, and presents a flexible, interactive model that emphasizes cooperation and consultation rather than dogmatic instruction. Numerous appendices, which include examples of position statements, self-assessment scales, and clinical evaluation forms, are provided at the end of relevant chapters rather than at the end of the book. This makes referring to each appendix much easier. Overall, this book provides a good coverage of the topic but does have some limitations when looked at from an audiology perspective.


Although titled "The Supervisory Process in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology," the book is geared much more to the supervisory process in speech-language pathology than audiology. From discussions about the new ASHA standards, to the appendices, to the six case studies presented in chapter 13, audiology is often ignored, or worse, assumed to be the same as speech-language pathology. For example, in chapter 10, on the topic of Clinical Certification, the authors state "...the revision of the standards which will begin implementation in most training programs in the fall of 2003..." The "standards" they refer to are the speech-language pathology standards, not the audiology standards, which will be implemented in 2007.

The authors' tendency to make global statements without recognizing that the they are specifically referring to speech-language pathology and ignoring audiology can make parts of the text confusing. In addition, ignoring the potential differences between speech-language pathology and audiology in the supervisory process also detracts somewhat from the usefulness of this text for audiologists. However, there is considerable information, presented mainly in the early chapters, which could be very beneficial to audiology supervisors.