Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Tarvydas, Vilia M

First Committee Member

Maki, Dennis R

Second Committee Member

Hernandez, Noel E

Third Committee Member

Park, Soonhye

Fourth Committee Member

Leahy, Michael J


The scholarly literature surrounding counselor supervision suggests that relational bonds built on liking, trusting, and caring between supervisors and counselors positively impact counselor willingness to disclose practice errors and ethical issues in supervision. This Delphi study explored the opinions of expert public rehabilitation supervisors regarding issues that affect the development and maintenance of relational bonds, as well as what factors affect counselor willingness to disclose in supervision, particularly minor ethical issues that may become more serious if not openly addressed. Forty-three supervisors who met the study criteria for experts were nominated for participation by TACE directors and public VR administrators. Expert criteria included five or more years of counselor supervision experience, possession of a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or related fields, and previous supervision training.

This Delphi study was designed to solicit the insights of expert supervisors and add to the base of research knowledge concerning counselor supervision. The study is significant because it is the first of its kind to be pursued exclusively among public rehabilitation supervisors exploring how relational bonds, counselor disclosure, and ethics are integrated into rehabilitation counseling practice.

Experts submitted their input using online questionnaires and were anonymous to other group members. In Round One, experts answered four open-ended questions regarding bonds and disclosure. In Rounds Two and Three, they ranked the importance of 39 Likert-scaled questions developed from Round One responses. Means and standard deviations were calculated for each round, and significance was tested using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

The major findings of this Delphi study were that trust has the most impact on the development of relational bonds, and that anticipated supervisor reactions are the biggest factor in counselor disclosure. Experts rated availability and fairness as the most important factors for bond development, and cultivation of trust as the highest-ranked strategy for facilitating disclosure. Experts ranked counselor fear of recrimination of lower importance than the literature indicates. The extent of expert understanding regarding the differences between egregious and non-egregious ethical behaviors was unclear.

Suggestions for further investigation include (a) a Delphi study of expert rehabilitation counselors regarding bonds and disclosure, (b) examining supervisor needs for support from administration, (c) continuing education for supervisors and counselors regarding non-egregious ethical errors, and (d) reviewing ethics training opportunities for non-CRC supervisors and counselors in public rehabilitation agencies.


Counselor disclosure, Counselor supervision, Ethics, Public rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Counseling, Relational Bonds


viii, 189 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 184-189).


Copyright 2012 Lori Anne Magnuson