Email communication as an adjunct to the traditional face-to-face clinical supervision model




Nguyen, Lien T.
Zhang, Yunyun
Watson, Joshua C.


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The COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges to traditional face-to-face (F2F) supervision that was designed for fostering mental health professionals’ growth. Researchers have suggested email communication as a supplemental intervention to the traditional F2F supervision model (Aziz, 2014; Twist et al., 2016). This study aimed to answer the following research question: how effective is adding email supervision to traditional F2F supervision at improving supervisees’ professional growth? The researchers recruited 24 participants and assigned them to two groups (12 in each) participating in a 15-week study. Participants in the treatment group were encouraged to communicate with their supervisor on a weekly basis through email. There were six supervisees from the treatment group who actively sent emails regarding their clinical experience to supervisor throughout the study. Altogether, nine participants in the control group and five in the treatment group completed three evaluations throughout the semester. Using a mixed ANOVA analysis, we identified a significant main effect of time interval on self-reported professional growth, F(2, 24) = 13.79, p < .001, 2 =.54, very large effect according to Cohen (1988). No significant main effect of group on self-reported growth was found, F(1, 12) = .17, p = .69, 2 = .01. No significant interaction effect between time and group was found, F(2, 24) = .37, p = .70, 2 = .03. Descriptive statistics showed treatment group participants scored higher on the final evaluation (M = 98.20, SD = 8.11) compared to control group participants (M = 97.89, SD= 5.09); the first and second evaluation suggested opposite patterns. These findings indicated both groups’ professional growth increased over time. The significant improvement of treatment group’s professional growth could be contributed by many factors including email supervision. The study acknowledges the benefits of email supervision and contributes to supervisors’ knowledge of the email supervision model.



Counseling, counselor supervisor, technology in counseling, clinical super- vision technique, mental health



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