Theories and models serve to help us make sense of and organize information. Operating within a model grounds our practice and helps practitioners with intentionality and consistency.

Supervisors should outline their model of supervision, discuss how decisions regarding the focus of supervision are generally determined, discuss their expectations of the supervisee, and how the process will be evaluated for effectiveness. Often this information is included in a Professional Disclosure Statement that is presented to the supervisee.

Supervisees should take the opportunity to discuss their general preferences for receiving feedback, their methods of learning, their expectations of support and critical feedback, and question what to do if they perceive that something is not going effectively in supervision.
This discussion, at the beginning and throughout the course of the relationship, may aid in facilitating a positive relationship that leads to counselor development.

Training in theory and models of supervision increases supervisor knowledge, and provides guidance for how to direct student learning, as well as how to understand the supervisee experience and development.

In general there are four types of clinical supervision models:

1. Psychotherapy-based models
2. Developmental models
3. Social-Role models
4. Eclectic or Integrationist models/Supervisor’s Model in Practice

While it is acknowledged that there are models of supervision that are based on theories of psychotherapy, Bernard and Goodyear (1998) state that an indicator that supervision is coming into its own is that there is an increase in models that were developed independent of psychotherapy. Therefore, this section will focus on the developmental and social role models of supervision.