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Social Constructionism and Supervision: Experiences of AAMFT Supervisors and Supervised Therapists


  • Heather J. Hair, PhD, RMFT, RSW, is from School of Social Work, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada; Marshall Fine, EdD, is a Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

  • Our thanks to the AAMFT Supervisors and therapists who gave of their time and experiences. We also extend our appreciation to the editors and reviewers for their encouragement, thoughtful critique, and suggestions.

Address correspondence to Heather J. Hair, PhD, RMFT, RSW, School of Social Work, Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador A1C 5S7, Canada; E-mail:


A phenomenological research process was used to investigate the supervision experience for supervisors and therapists when supervisors use a social constructionist perspective. Participants of the one-to-one interviews were six AAMFT Approved Supervisors and six therapists providing counseling to individuals, couples and families. The findings suggest supervisors were committed to their self-identified supervision philosophy and intentionally sought out congruence between epistemology and practice. The shared experience of therapists indicates they associated desirable supervision experiences with their supervisors’ social constructionist perspective. Our findings also indicated that supervisors’ and therapists’ understanding of social constructionism included the more controversial concepts of agency and extra-discursiveness. This research has taken an empirical step in the direction of understanding what the social constructionist supervision experience is like for supervisors and therapists. Our findings suggest a linkage between epistemology and supervision practice and a satisfaction with the supervision process.