Developmental Stages and Legal and Ethical Issues-Play Therapy Supervision

Developmental Stages and Legal and Ethical Issues-Play Therapy Supervision

  1. Identify and describe ways in which the developmental stage of supervisees impacts their need for supervision in regard to legal and ethical issues.

There are various way in which developmental stages of supervisees impact a supervisee’s need for supervision. This is especially so in light of the inherent nature of thedevelopmental model which describe supervisees moving through progressive stages in their professional maturity and within the supervisory relationship. Each of the stages reflects the professional needs of the counsellor, and the required level of supervision. In the context of play therapy supervision, various legal and ethical issues arise. These include the issue of confidentiality, informed consent, direct and vicarious liability, duty to warn and dual relationships(Welfel, 2015).These issues influence the way supervisees conduct their sessions and the extent and depth of discussions between the supervisee and the supervisor.

Stage 1 reflects a supervisee who is extremely dependent on the supervisor, having minimal experience and lacking self-awareness. At this stage, the supervisee requires awareness training and exemplification, and support from their supervisor to encourage autonomy within normative structures. This sets a fertile platform for the supervisee to be guided and be cognisant of the legal and ethical standards expected of him.Stage 2 reflects a state where the supervisee is growing in independency, has increased self-awareness, is striving for independence, and becoming more assertive in the process. This state requires the supervisor to have in place a good support structure, exemplification, and less instruction. Reduced structure is also necessary.Stage 3 reflects conditional dependency where a supervisee is developing a personal identity. At this stage, the supervisee requires the supervisor to provide autonomy with structure. The supervisee is viewedas a colleague.Stage 4 is the master counsellor stage. The supervisee is reflecting other and self awareness, discerning of own weaknesses and strengths, interdependent, and has incorporated standards of the profession with personal counsellor identity. Herein, the supervision becomes collegial if continued(Hawkins & Smith, 2013).

Each of the developmental stages requires that the supervisee upholds high ethical standards and observes legal standards. The supervisee is accountable to maintaining high legal and ethical standards and moral practices, and for acting as a model of practice to staff. It is thus upon the supervisor to provide guidance and direction that meets the needs of the supervisee.

  1. In what ways would you expect to intervene on these legal and ethical issues with supervisees in each developmental stage?

Some of the ethical and legal concerns that may ariseand must be interposed by boththe supervisors and their supervisees include the issues of confidentiality, informed consentvicarious and directliability, duty to warn, anddual relationships.While there is no specific intervention approach that is particular to individual developmental stage, I would ensure that the supervisee is aware is conversant with the legal and ethical issues that are commonly faced in the profession. This will be guided within the framework of the ethical standards relating to supervision and training as provided for by the: Ethical Guidelines for Counselling Supervisors by the Association for Counsellor Education and Supervision (ACES); The Approved Clinical Supervisors (ACS) Code of Ethics; and the American Counselling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics – Teaching, Training and Supervision (SectionF).



Hawkins, P., & Smith, N. (2013). Coaching, Mentoring And Organizational Consultancy: Supervision, Skills And Development: Supervision, Skills and Development (2 ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Welfel, E. R. (2015). Ethics in Counseling & Psychotherapy (6 ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.