Monday, January 28, 2008

Phone Supervision (Part I): Interview with Simon Feuerman and Melissa Groman

[Episode 31] Today’s podcast is the first of a three part series on phone supervision. In parts one and two I speak with Simon Feuerman and Melissa Groman, licensed clinical social workers, clinical supervisors and consultants and founders of the The New Center for Advanced Psychotherapy Studies and The Good Practice Institute for Professional Psychotherapists. The New Center for Advanced Psychotherapy Studies was established in 2006 as a learning program for licensed clinicians from all training and theoretical backgrounds to learn together without geographic limitations. Simon and Melissa are two of a growing number of clinicians who use accessible and affordable telecommunications and internet technologies to eliminate traditional barriers to supervision, including geographical distance, time constraints, and lack of local clinical experts.

Download MP3 [26:48]

In today’s podcast, Simon and Melissa talk about the similarities and differences between face-to-face and phone supervision, advantages and disadvantages, the difference between clinical supervision and consultation, existing research on phone supervision and some thoughts about approaches to phone supervision. In the second episode we talk about the mechanics of participating in phone supervision, how to set up phone supervision as the supervisor and the supervisee, risk management, and some of the benefits of on-going supervision or consultation for clinicians who have already obtained their advanced clinical license and are considered independent practitioners. In the third episode I interview Jody Bechtold, whom regular listeners will recognize from the ever-popular series on pathological gambling. Jody and I spoke about her experience receiving phone supervision as she worked towards becoming a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor.

My interview with Simon and Melissa was a first for the social work podcast: it was the first time I interviewed two people at once and the first time I interviewed someone outside of the studio.
Today's interview about phone supervision was recorded using, what else, the telephone... or at least the 21st century version of the telephone - Skype. Skype is software that enables people to communicate for free computer to computer. I wanted to acknowledge the technical support of David Holzemer and the staff at the Faculty Instructional Development Lab at the University of Pittsburgh for figuring out how to set up Skype so that I could do this interview.

Interview Questions

1. I suspect that almost all of our listeners have had experience with face-to-face supervision. I was wondering if you could tell us what are some of the similarities and differences between face-to-face and phone supervision.

2. What are some reasons a social worker would use telephone supervision?

3. I’m wondering if you can discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages to using the telephone as a means of providing and participating in supervision. What are some of the common concerns about telephone supervision?

4. During my research for this interview, I came across a number of different approaches to supervision. For example, Baltimore and Crutchfield (2003) mention three models of supervision, each based on a different theoretical perspective – client centered, behavioral and family-systems. In the client-centered model, for example, the supervisor assumes that the supervisee has all the resources he or she needs to actively address the issues. In contrast, the behavioral model assumes that insight is less important than meeting goals and objectives, and using punishment and rewards to change the supervisee’s behavior. I’m wondering what approach you take to supervision and if you think that one approach is better suited for phone supervision than another.

5. Is there any research that supports the use of telephone supervision? Is less than, equal to, or more effective than traditional face-to-face supervision?

6. We’ve talked about some basic concepts related to phone supervision. I’m wondering if you could talk us through the process of becoming involved with phone supervision. Maybe we could start with the absolute basics - How does someone find phone supervision? Let’s say I find a phone supervision group, what are the next steps, the process of contracting, the logistics of the schedule, dropped calls, etc.

7. Part of risk management is receiving clinical supervision. However there are liabilities associate with supervision. Specifically, if your supervisee is sued, you can be held liable for inadequate supervision. As someone who does phone consultation, how do you address issues of liability and documentation of supervision sessions?

8. With the advent of sites like YouTube and Google Videos, it seems like people are rapidly becoming comfortable in front of the camera – at times embarrassingly so. As a result, people are using web cams like never before. How do you think that this increase comfort with video technology will change the way that distance supervision is conducted in the future? In other words, do you think that in 10 years we’ll be doing a podcast on the use of video supervision?

APA (5th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Host). (2008, January 28). Phone supervision (Part I): Interview with Simon Feuerman and Melissa Groman [Episode 31]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved Month Day, Year, from


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