Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Kathleen A. Gathercoal, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Roger K. Bufford, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D.


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand how clinical psychologist trainees experience personal disclosures within an academic, clinical supervision-style groups (labeled quasi-supervision). Centering around an initial call-for-disclosure present in supervision environments colloquially called a check-in, this two-phase qualitative study utilized interviews and a member-checking survey with sixteen 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th-year doctoral psychology students attending quasi-supervision groups. These groups, structured like group clinical supervision settings but differing in primary focus (practitioner versus client) and lack of access to client records, offered valuable insight into the purpose of personal disclosure within supervisory settings. Questioning centered around obtaining phenomenological descriptions of a single check-in experience from each participant. Findings of the study show the essence of the experience was in five semi-sequential phases of the personal disclosure experience (Catalyst, Encouragement, Discouragement, Discomfort, and Consequence). Experiences from trainees complemented goals of contemporary supervision modalities; trainees’ conceptualizations around personal disclosures match their defined purpose according to psychoanalytic, Rogerian, relational-cultural therapy, narrative, rational emotive behavior therapy, group therapy, and competency-based supervision orientations, and trainees’ described fear of adverse academic or professional ramification matches existing research. Critical new findings elaborate on the experience of personally disclosing in quasi-supervision environments, leading to important supervision implications including the importance of purposing disclosures within a modality, explaining this purpose to trainees, recognition of the risks and fears associated with vulnerable disclosure, and optimizing the quasi-supervision environment for safe and valuable disclosure.

Included in

Psychology Commons