Workshop 4

Developing cultural competence in supervision

Margo Ononaiye, University of Southampton

The research focusing on positive outcomes in supervision consistently highlights the importance of the quality of the supervisory relationship (e.g., Holloway, 2016). The supervisory relationship is a significant predictor of supervisee satisfaction, developing an effective learning context, improving rapport, supervisee safety and professional development (Holloway, 2016). Clinicians from ethnically diverse backgrounds are under-represented within psychological services (Turpin & Coleman, 2010) and have reported experiencing racism, feeling guarded, unvalued, and unable to display their true emotions in supervision, which is often with white supervisors (e.g., Davis, 2017). In support, Vekaria, Ononaiye and Phiri (2022) found that culturally responsive supervision was not generally experienced by supervisees from ethnically diverse backgrounds. The results suggested that supervisees felt that their supervision lacked reflection and collaborative discussions on cultural identity which in turn negatively impacted upon the supervisory relationship. This workshop therefore aims to address this imbalance by providing skills to enable the development of culturally competent supervision, which will in turn improve the supervisory relationship.

Key learning objectives:

By the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • Understand the concept of culturally unresponsive supervision and its impact on the supervisory relationship
  • Personally reflect on one’s own cultural identity and biases within a safe, learning environment
  • Experience techniques and strategies that will promote cultural responsivity that can be applied in the supervision relationship to build collaboration, rapport, safety, and trust
  • Supervise using the principles of culturally responsive supervision

A Clinical Psychologist by background, Margo is the first Black woman to be promoted to the role of Programme Director on a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme in the UK. She has also recently been seconded into a part-time role of Widening Participation Lead for the Psychological Professions Network Southeast providing a strategic overview to the equality, diversity and inclusion work that is being done, and needs to be done, within the psychology professions. Margo has an active interest in helping the world of psychology to become more inclusive and representative of the multicultural nation where we live and work.

Dr Margo Ononaiye talks about some of her own experiences of race and leadership in a blog with Dr Adrian Whittington -

Key References

Davis, T. C. (2017). Exploring racial bias within clinical supervisory relationships: The experiences of supervisees of color. (Doctoral dissertation, Northern Illinois University).

Holloway, E. L. (2016). Essential dimensions of systems approach to supervision. In E. L. Holloway, Clinical supervision essentials. Supervision essentials for a systems approach to supervision (p. 13–31). American Psychological

Turpin, G. & Coleman, G. (2010). Clinical psychology and diversity: Progress and continuing challenges. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 9(2), 17–27.

Vekaria (2021). Discussion of race and ethnicity in supervision: a supervisee’s perspective. (Doctoral dissertation: The University of Southampton).

Vekaria, B, Ononaiye, M & Phiri, P. (In prep). A study exploring the supervisory relationship in the context of culturally responsive supervision; a supervisee’s perspective

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