Supervisor mentoring and psychotherapist professional development: An exploratory qualitative study

Tamasine Conway Greig, Fordham University


This qualitative study was designed to explore the relationship between supervisor mentoring and psychotherapist professional development. Ten individual semistructured interviews were conducted with the members of five supervisee-supervisor dyads who were in long term mentoring relationships. A number of categories and themes were developed that generated several hypotheses appropriate for future research. First, the quality of the mentoring relationship was described by the participants as more influential in their professional development than technical skills or theory. In addition, several ideas about professional development including the importance of ongoing training, increased self-awareness, and the need for good supervision were themes that were discussed in the mentoring relationships. Participants described mentoring as distinctly different from supervision, particularly due to the interpersonal quality of the relationship which was described as warm, caring, supportive, and respectful. In contrast, supervision was described as more task oriented and didactic than mentoring. A number of themes were evident across the mentoring relationships studied. For example, supervisees were initially characterized by their willingness to learn, while mentors were characterized by their commitment to supervision. Both supervisees and mentors described how their relationship integrated the personal and professional aspects of their lives. Finally, psychotherapists described their professional development as a lifelong process.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Greig, Tamasine Conway, "Supervisor mentoring and psychotherapist professional development: An exploratory qualitative study" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9830593.