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Supervision Essentials for Integrative Psychotherapy


Reviewed by Kevin Jeffrey Goldwater, New York University

While clinical supervision is collectively considered a necessary and critical process in producing quality psychotherapy, there seems to be a dearth of consolidated instruction for those educating or practicing it. Noticing this, editors Hanna Levenson and Arpana G. Iman have produced a series organizing what they call a “dream team” of eleven experts in their respected fields. The two have created a multi volume Clinical Supervision Essentials, allowing for direct and concise reference for educators and practitioners. In this volume, John C. Norcross and Leah M. Popple tackle a matter near and deep to their hearts and professional work—the supervision of integrative psychotherapy.

Acknowledging the common usage of the term ‘integrative’ by today’s practitioners, Norcross and Popple explain the originality that comes from integrative supervision. Verbally differentiating from past approaches, the two explain that their model rests on research rather than theory, synthesizing both the supervisory method and relationship rather than dividing them, responsiveness to multiple arising characteristics rather than single points, and finally the supervisor being supervised themselves, rather than them being the sole evaluator of the trainee and their work. These differences highlight their insistence that integrative supervision is unlike any other, and requires special attention and method.

The pair begins their volume by introducing and explaining integrative psychotherapy, as well as the historical background of the method. Interestingly enough, Norcross and Popple use the beginning of the book to outline the path they designate to becoming an expert integrative supervisor. The second chapter discusses the main points of integrative supervision: critical goals, unique functions, and the supervisory relationship. The third then discusses the methods of integrative supervision. These include video recordings, process notes, documentation, and parallel process, and they explain that the tailoring of the method to the specific supervisee makes integrative supervision so original. When the reader reaches the fourth chapter, they encounter the “nuts and bolts” of integrative supervision, describing the process and structure of supervision. The fifth and sixth chapter delve into the potential problems that can arise and their solutions, as well as a chapter selected for the supervisor in particular and how to work with these issues. The seventh chapter discusses and calls for further research on integrative psychotherapy, and the final chapter discusses the direction this research should head to.

While the book remains clear and concise, the pair struggles to explain their approach in light of their differentiation from current standards. Because of this approach, the relaying of information requires a strong understanding of supervision in general. This makes the reading seem like a start at square one, building the method from scratch, whereas a more traditional understanding of supervision already several squares ahead. That being said, Norcross and Popple do an excellent job of relaying it as best they can, not losing their audience nor casting any doubt on their theory. However, due to the differentiations, the book seems suited for someone who is already familiar with the basics of supervision standards and interested in a new model.

Understanding and accepting the challenge of tackling a large theory in a small book, Norcross and Popple clearly outline their approach without any remnants of doubt or confusion. While some points seem as if they are claiming (and enforcing) superiority over other approaches, the pair successfully communicate abilities and values that lie in integrative supervision, solidifying this books place in the Supervision Essentials library.


About the Editors:

John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP Is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton and adjunct professor of psychiatry at State University of New York Upstate Medical University as well as a board-ceritfied psychology. With more than 400 publications and edits under his belt, Norcross has received a multitude of awards. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife.

Leah M. Popple is a staff psychologist at the University of Scranton Counseling Center. Graduating summa cum laude in psychology from Pennsylvania State University and achieving her MA and PsyD in counseling psychology from Marywood University, her research includes college student mental health and help seeking behaviors.
Kevin Jeffrey Goldwater studies Applied Psychology with a minor in music at New York University and is set to graduate in May of 2019. Born in Chicago, Kevin has done immersive research on psychoanalytic theory and the role of gender in today’s media. In addition to working for the International Journal of Psychotherapy, he writes reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today.