Ann Friesema

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fisher, Teresa A.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Family counselors--Training of; Family counseling; Family violence; Dysfunctional families--Supervision of


This qualitative study provided understanding into how domestic violence counselors experience clinical supervision. Domestic violence counselors' supervision experiences, the relationship in supervision, and the ways in which counselors utilize supervision to meet their developmental and self-care needs were explored. Seven participants were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. All seven participants were employed as full-time domestic violence counselors in non-profit agency settings in which counseling services were provided to victims of domestic violence and their children free of charge. Participants were required to hold a master's degree in counseling, or related field, receive weekly clinical supervision, and provide free counseling services to survivors. All participants engaged in an in-person interview and completed a reflective journal. Two participants completed a member check interview, providing feedback regarding emerging themes. Interpretive phenomenological analysis methodology was used. Findings reveal that domestic violence counselors in this study had experiences of individual and relational development within supervision. Individual development consisted of experiences of value and worth, the development of the advocate role, the experience of clinical growth, and finally, the process of career development, while relational development consisted of relational growth, and the experience of mutuality, of safety, and of community and connection. In addition, clinical supervision was found to be a protective factor that enabled participants to cope with the impact of trauma work. The findings highlight the importance of cultivating factors of growth-fostering relationships within the clinical supervision experience and highlight the need for counseling training programs and clinical supervisors to prepare for the various developmental and self-care needs of domestic violence counselors. Recommendations are provided that address practices of clinical supervision, domestic violence counseling, and counselor education. Suggestions for future research are discussed regarding the importance of studying the development of relational components of clinical supervision within domestic violence counseling services and trauma counseling more broadly.


Advisors: Teresa A. Fisher.||Committee members: Suzanne Degges-White; Hide Shimizu.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vi, 160 pages




Northern Illinois University

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