Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Debra Nixon

Committee Member

Christine Beliard

Committee Member

Ron Chenail


In-home family therapy has become one of the most common options of treatment for providing services to families who do not typically utilize a private clinic (Lawson, 2005; Reiter, 2000; Yorgason, McWey, & Felts, 2005). Researchers have given some attention to the topic of home-based therapy and to general supervision, but little attention has focused on the actual supervision experiences of home-based therapy providers. This phenomenological study explored the supervision experiences of seven past and current in-home therapists: marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and social workers (MSWs). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the participants, and data was analyzed to develop structured descriptions and meanings via highlighted “significant statements” that described the participants’ experiences (Kvale, 2007). The participants’ descriptive accounts were categorized as 1) in-home therapy descriptions, 2) factors affecting in-home therapy supervision, and 3) effective and ineffective supervisory practices. Implications of the research findings suggested that clinicians’ needs and expectations related to safety, burn out, and supervisory knowledge were often unmet. Supervisory practices that appeared significantly effective were 1) developing trusting supervisor-supervisee relationships, 2) reviewing models and clinical application collaboratively, and 3) actively prioritizing clinician safety and burn out prevention.

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