This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

How Site Supervisors Identify and Respond to Counselors-in-Training Who Exhibit Problematic Behaviors: A Grounded Theory Study




Hancock, Elizabeth

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


The purpose of this study was to provide information regarding the experiences of site supervisors in supervising counselors-in-training who have exhibited problematic behaviors and to begin building a theory about how site supervisors’ identify and respond to intern counselors-in-training who exhibit problematic behavior while at their internship sites. Grounded theory was utilized in this study to allow for the exploration of a topic that has previously been explored on a limited basis. Categories that emerged within this study describe how site supervisors identify those intern counselors-in-training exhibiting problematic behavior and how they responded to the situation. Ten participants participated in a single semi-structured interview incorporating experience-near questions. Categories depicting how site supervisors identify problematic behavior including through observation by administrative staff and the site supervisor; during supervision through the self-identification from the intern counselor-in-training; and via external sources such as clients or the faculty supervisor. Categories depicting how site supervisors respond to an intern counselor-in-training exhibiting problematic behaviors include collaboration with colleagues, supervisors, and faculty supervisors; reactions including shock, frustration, and sadness; and interventions which included working with the intern and as a last resort, termination. Further, categories emerged that were not connected to the research questions, including challenges supervisors face, motivations to be a site supervisors, and experiences working with faculty supervisors. Results are provided and discussed along with implications for counselor education programs are provided.