Ethnic Identity and Working Alliance in Psychology Supervisory Relationships

Jessica Fernandez, Pace University

Abstract

With the increasing percentage of non-mainstream (e.g., ethnically diverse) individuals studying and practicing psychology, research on race and ethnicity is critical towards understanding their role in professional development. Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of incorporating discussions of racial attitudes and culture in counseling supervision. Racial and ethnic identities have been suggested as potential facilitators or inhibitors in supervisory relationships. Racial identity (RI) development has been found to be related to supervisors' and supervisees perceptions of the supervisory working alliance. Supervisory dyads where both the supervisor and the supervisee have high levels of RI development have been found to have the strongest supervisory working alliance (i.e., most satisfied with the relationship). Conversely, dyads in which both members have low levels of RI development have been found to be the least satisfied with their relationship (Bhat & Davis, 2007; Ladany, Brittan-Powell, & Pannu, 1997). This study examined whether similar relationships exist between ethnic identity (EI) development and the supervisory working alliance. The sample included 164 participants, 68 supervisors and 96 supervisees. Analyses on supervisory dyads included 64 dyads, 57 supervisors and 60 supervisees. All participants completed the Ethnic Identity Scale to measure their level of El development. Supervisors and supervisees in supervisory dyads were assigned to interaction groups based on their level of EI development. Supervisors completed the Supervisory Working Alliance Inventory and supervisees completed the Supervisory Working Alliance Inventory - Trainee Version to measure the working alliance in counselor supervision. Results revealed that supervisors and supervisees did not differ significantly in their level of EI development. There was a significant difference found between supervisors and supervisees level of El affirmation (i.e., their feelings toward their ethnicity). In contrast to prior findings with RI development, a relationship was not found between EI development and the supervisory working alliance. Reliance on supervisor/supervisee self-report rather than their perceptions of each other's EI development may have contributed to disparate findings. In order to obtain less biased data, future studies should include participants' assessments on all of their supervisory relationships instead of allowing them to self-select individual supervisors/supervisees.^

Subject Area

Psychology, General

Recommended Citation

Jessica Fernandez, "Ethnic Identity and Working Alliance in Psychology Supervisory Relationships" (January 1, 2014). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3580499.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3580499

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