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Family therapy supervision: Assessment of skill attainment by trainee and supervisor

Doty, Dale Robert, Jr.
A thorough review of the literature indicates that very little research has been done to demonstrate that family therapy training is effective. This research was undertaken to answer the questions as to whether family therapy training produces change in trainees over time. The Family Therapy Skill Evaluation (FTSE) was constructed consisting of 40 items of family therapy skills divided into four subscales. This scale was administered to 50 trainees and their supervisors in a large midwestern two-year family therapy training program. Skill attainment was measured at various times during the supervision and training process by the trainee himself and from evaluations from the supervisors.
It was found that the alpha reliability on the FTSE instrument exceeded minimum standards for research purposes. Each of the subscales was also found to be adequately reliable. The underlying factor structure of the FTSE suggested that one main factor accounted for the majority of variance within the scale. Three other factors accounted for a smaller amount of variance. These factors roughly corresponded to the subscales on the FTSE. ANOVA was used to compare the increase in mean of trainees' skill across phases of the training program. F Tests were significant beyond the .05 level. Trainees reported an increase in their perception of their skills at each phase of the training program. Supervisors assessed trainees at a higher level of skill at each period of supervision. Supervisors consistently rated trainees lower than trainees rated themselves. The data suggests that the experience of family therapy training increases trainees' skill acquisition as measure by the FTSE in this study. Supervisors' ratings of trainee skill attainment seem to suggest that supervisors are more critical judges than trainees are of themselves. The question of superiority of training methods such as case notes, video tapes, or live supervision is still unanswered. A study utilizing the FTSE to assess trainees being supervised by each of these methods could answer this question.