Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Counselor Education and Supervision

Department or School/College

Phyllis J. Washington College of Education

Committee Chair

Kirsten W. Murray

Commitee Members

Veronica Johnson, Sara Polanchek, John Sommers-Flanagan, Daisy Rooks


Counseling, Counselor education, Impression management, Supervision


University of Montana


Clinical supervision plays an essential role in the training and monitoring of novice counselors. Supervisors are responsible for supporting counselor development as well as protecting the public from incompetent care. To fulfil their multiple roles, supervisors rely on supervisees to make relevant disclosures about their work with clients. This includes supervisees asking questions and disclosing mistakes and potential deficits. Supervisee impression management, defined as behavior intended to portray a desirable image of the self, therefore influences the supervision process. The following central question guided this grounded theory study: What is the experience and process of impression management in clinical supervision? Eight supervisees shared their experiences of impression management in supervision through two rounds of semi-structured interviews. They reported that desired images of self were formulated ongoingly by noticing how multiple sources, including the supervisor, the site, and the self, defined images of desirable behavior. Situational and hierarchical elements of supervision also influenced supervisee experiences of desired and dreaded images in supervision. In order to portray specific images of competence, under some conditions, participants chose to engage in non-disclosure, fabricated disclosure, and controlled disclosure of vulnerabilities in supervision. The primary process by which participants made impression management decisions was through weighing the potential risks of disclosure against the utility of exposure. Consequences of participants’ impression management decisions reinforced their behavior, generating a cycle of impression management. Knowing more about how the process of impression management can unfold for supervisees offers useful information for supervisor training, counselor training, and supervisee role induction. This research informs how supervisors can create conditions that reduce detrimental impression management behavior in service of supporting novice counselors to provide competent client care.



© Copyright 2019 Ariel Heather Goodman