Not good enough

A qualitative study of the experiences of person-oriented supervisors with insufficiently functioning supervisees

ARTICLERenate Geuzinge - 58–3 (2020)


According to the person-centered perspective every human being has, under the right circumstances, a tendency to grow. This also applies to our psychotherapists in training. Within the training of person-centered psychotherapists there is a tension between on the one hand supporting and validating the trainee and on the other hand confronting and evaluating their competence. How do person-centered supervisors deal with this tension? This research focuses on the experiences of person-centered supervisors regarding to insufficient competence and functioning of psychotherapists in training. This qualitative research, consisting of an analysis of 17 in-depth interviews with person-centered supervisors, shows that a judgement of incompetence and under-functioning is relatively rare. However, almost all experienced person-centered supervisors encountered it at least once during their career. Many recall it as an unpleasant and sometimes distressing experience. This research shows that this increases when the supervisor’s evaluative decision is not taken seriously by other co-trainers. This paper concludes with a number of recommendations that emerged out of the interviews and relevant literature.


training, supervision, supervisor, trainee, evaluation