This thesis examines the perceptions and experiences of school guidance personnel in relation to clinical supervision. Specifically the study sought to discover how clinical supervision is conceptualised by school guidance personnel, and how it is experienced by them. In addition, it examined how school guidance personnel perceive that the supervisory context affects the conduct of clinical supervision. The study also evaluated the use of teleconference calls as a medium for conducting focus group interviews with participants in remote locations.
The study was conducted in three parts. First, data was gathered through a survey questionnaire. Two versions of the questionnaire were developed. One version was worded to reflect the role of guidance officers in the supervisory process, and the other version was worded to reflect the role of senior guidance officers in the supervisory process. The questionnaires were distributed to all guidance officers and senior guidance officers employed by the Queensland Department of Education (renamed Education Queensland since the time of the study). Second, focus group interviews were conducted using teleconference call facilities. The focus group interviews were conducted with a random sample of guidance officers and senior guidance officers who had completed the questionnaires. Guidance officers were interviewed separately from senior guidance officers. In addition, guidance officers who received clinical supervision were interviewed separately from those who did not receive clinical supervision. Third, the use of teleconference calls as a medium for conducting focus group interviews with people from remote locations was evaluated by means of a questionnaire sent to all participants. The data was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively as appropriate.
The findings established that the provision of clinical supervision was perceived as inadequate by most senior guidance officers and guidance officers. In addition, most participants perceived that the amount of training they had received in clinical supervision was inadequate. The study also found that the training and induction of those new to the profession are inadequate. The inadequacy of clinical supervision, supervision training, and the training and induction of those new to the profession was attributed to the supervisory context and a lack of professional leadership on the part of Education Queensland. In addition, differences were found between supervised guidance officers and senior guidance officers, males and females, supervised and unsupervised guidance officers, primary and secondary guidance officers, and experienced and less experienced guidance officers. The study also found that the use of teleconference calls was a successful method of conducting focus group interviews.
As a result of this study, the recommendations relate to the issue of professional leadership. In particular, recommendations are provided for Education Queensland, the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association Inc., the professional organisation representing guidance personnel, and the universities who conduct counsellor training and guidance training courses. Specifically, the recommendations address the establishment of clinical supervision guidelines, supervision training, induction of those new to the profession, and closer communication between the Queensland Guidance and Counselling Association Inc. and Education Queensland.