I was recently talking with a friend who remarked that the problem with most new books he reads these days is that there is “too much space between the covers.” After all, he queried rhetorically, “Do I really need more than 250 pages or so on any one subject?” Days before this conversation, I had accepted an invitation to write a review of Psychotherapy Supervision and had received the 632-page tome by mail. Perusing the book over the past several weeks, I was increasingly delighted to find that it constitutes an exception to my friend’s observation. The book truly lives up to its full title, grounding both the theory and practice of supervision in classic and contemporary research.
In this second edition, which comes nearly 30 years after the first, the editors review the history, summarize the current state, and estimate the future of supervision—a subfield of psychotherapy. In doing so, they provide valuable information for readers on either side of the supervisory relationship, thereby affording relational and historical context. Within this framework, the book is organized for easy use as a reference tool, but it does not read like a manual. Written by experts in their respective fields, chapters address the application of supervision by setting/population, patient age, psychotherapy orientation, and treatment modality (eg, assessment, hypnotherapy).
Amid guidance on the provision and receipt of supervision across these categories, the book intersperses assistance with providing certain psychotherapies, and reviews the fundamentals of several treatments to which the authors suggest most readers are not likely to have had comprehensive exposure (eg, those for substance abuse and sexual disorders). Specific chapters are devoted to the growth of the supervisee and to race, sex, and gender considerations in supervision, although broader themes such as these are also interwoven throughout many of the chapters and are enlivened with case examples. Also, the book covers the supervision of assessment and, reciprocally, the assessment of supervision (through measurement and evaluation).
Future editions might include yet more information on some specific topics, such as reconciling strains and ruptures in various types of supervisory relationships, or supervising providers of psychiatry, or certain group psychotherapies. However, with such a broad array of domains covered, the reader will not need many “more pages.”
In short, the book is like a good supervisor … it can be easily consulted for guidance according to the consultee’s competence, need, and interest. Comprehensively covering nearly all aspects of supervision, this tool can be used by the aspiring and experienced clinician, the novice researcher, and the tenured professor alike.