Telling How to Say It: A Way of Giving Suggestions in Family Therapy Supervision Dan A. Ratliff and G. H. Morris
The literature on supervision in marriage and family therapy portrays it as a difficult process in which supervisors must establish a clear hierarchy and set appropriate learning goals for trainees (Fine & Fennell, 1985; Haley, 1976; Liddle & Schwartz, 1983; Mazza, 1988; Montalvo, 1973; Schwartz, 1988; Schwartz, Liddle, & Breunlin, 1988; Tucker, Hart, & Liddle, 1976), yet must preserve trainees' initiative and autonomy, avoid creating dependency, and facilitate growth (Berger & Dammann, 1982; Liddle & Schwartz, 1983; Nichols, 1988; Roberts, 1981; Schwartz et al., 1988). Difficulties in supervision may arise from supervisors' excessive activity or from trainees' responses. Difficulties may come from the trainees' anxiety about how the supervisor may evaluate his or her clinical work (Breunlin, Karrer, McGuire, & Cimmarusti, 1988). Because of the active inter-
ventionist style of many family therapists, supervisors may complicate the process by attempting to impress trainees with their skillful suggestions (Schwartz, 1988). In live supervision, supervisors may make suggestions too frequently or in a complex form that may confuse or overwhelm the trainee (Breunlin, Liddle, & Schwartz, 1988; Wright, 1986). Supervisors may also complicate learning by using abstract theoretical concepts that obfuscate what they want trainees to do (Tyler & Tyler, 1985).