Psychology, Professional


Summer 8-16-2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Salina Renninger

Second Advisor

Len Jennings

Third Advisor

Sue Hoisington


In the field of psychology, providing quality supervision is important because inadequate supervision can be detrimental to trainee development (Ellis et al., 2014). Without conscious consideration of their ability to supervise, supervisors may provide supervision that is ineffective or even harmful (Ellis et al., 2014, 2017) and 85-90% of psychologists will act as a clinical supervisor at some point in their career (Ronnestad et al., 1997). The potential stagnation of supervisor development may be concerning given that most psychologists believe they are improving over time, despite evidence suggesting as much (Miller et al., 2020; Orlinsky & Ronnestad, 2005). Deliberate practice has been described as the “gold standard” for developing expertise across a variety of fields (Ericsson et al., 1993; Ericsson et al., 2007; Ericsson & Pool, 2017), including psychotherapy (Rousmaniere, 2017; Rousmaniere et al., 2017; Miller et al., 2020). Rousmaniere and colleagues (2017) suggest that supervisory skill could be developed through deliberate practice, but the research is still nascent. The intersection of deliberate practice principles and supervisor training activities of nine licensed psychologist supervisors was analyzed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis. The researcher’s analysis suggested that participants actively worked toward improving their supervisory skill, engaged in reflection to identify potential areas for growth, sought out experts in supervision, and used feedback to inform decision making in relation to supervision training. These processes aligned with purposeful practice, a goal-oriented approach to learning and skill development, which included components of deliberate practice but did not include elements such as training specific supervisory skills and having intentionality about tracking their development over time.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.