School Counselors as Supervisors: Examining Qualitative Perspectives of Site-based Internships

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Spring 2018


Experienced school counselors provide site-based supervision to university students during the required internship phase of their graduate training. The site-based school counselor agrees to supervise the intern student and collaborates with the university program to ensure internship requirements are addressed. Unlike other counseling programs requiring additional supervision after graduation, school counselors often begin employment with no additional support. As the responsibilities of school counselors continue to grow and evolve, meaningful supervision with high expectations for supervisees is of increasing importance. Despite the need for adequate supervision, the amount of training school counselors have received in order to provide supervision varies. School counseling internship content and objectives also vary among university programs. Using a qualitative phenomenological design, 12 school counselors with internship supervision experience from across the country were interviewed. Participants were asked to discuss their perceptions of (a) the essential components of school counseling internships, (b) the level of support they have experienced from university programs while providing supervision to graduate student interns, and (c) the amount of supervision training received through the university prior to supervising. Four themes were identified which related to (1) the school counselor-intern student relationship; (2) the school counseling program; (3) direct student services; and, (4) the school counselor's interactions with parents, teachers, and community resource providers. Data contained in these themes could serve as recommendations for strengthening school counseling internships. In addition, school counselors' perceived level of university support provided during internships, and the amount of training school counselors received through the university prior to supervising, may provide relevant insights for counselor education programs.


Chester Robinson

Subject Categories

Counseling | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences