Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Lonnie E. Duncan


Everything we do is embedded within multiple contexts of collective and individual historical events that culminate in present day encounters. As an increasing number of racial minorities have entered the ranks as mental health practitioners, the configuration of the treatment and the supervision dyad has changed (Owens-Patterson, 2002). The fundamental aim of this study explored, captured, and described the supervision experience from the nuanced perspective of African American supervisors. A qualitative approach was employed using in-depth interviews to capture the complexity of race relations within the supervision dyad through an African Centered framework, aiding in our understanding of supervised training dynamics.

Ten self-identified African American supervisors participated in one audio recorded in-person interview and one audio recorded telephone interview. The data was then analyzed using discourse analysis (Gee, 1999) and traditional phenomenological methods. The data captured the interpersonal dynamics represented between the researcher and participant while also illuminating nuanced themes found within the African American supervision experience. Textual descriptions highlighted each participant’s recollections of race relations during their supervised training, their experiences providing supervision, and their overall understanding of race relations within the supervision dyad. Three general domains and seven subthemes (Lived Experience – social, political, historical and cultural context; proving one’s competence; entitlement and privilege), (Training and Multicultural Learning – training; mentorship; limited exposure), and (Relationship – acquiring comfort, trust, and safety) were derived from this study.

The meaning of these themes and subthemes were discussed in relationship to providing culturally responsive supervision to psychology trainees and the challenges of being an African American supervisor.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access