Supervision Experiences of Rural School Counselors

Tara A. Wilson, Susan Schaeffer, Mary Alice Bruce


This qualitative study explored the needs of professional school counselors and school counselor interns located in rural areas with regard to clinical supervision, consultation, and professional growth.  Four separate focus groups (n=21) were conducted.  To allow for consistency across focus groups, a series of six structured interview questions were used.  Results of the data analysis revealed six themes which included unique issues of rural school counselors, dynamics of rural living, supervision from school administrators, supporting development through technology, desire for increased connection through supervision, and the identification of roles and responsibilities.  Implications of this study indicate a crucial need to increase supervision training opportunities for current school counselors and interns.  Technology and active participation with professional organizations may provide a platform for rural school counselors to receive supervision training and offer increased professional connection to solidify their counseling identity.


rural; supervision; school counselors; roles and responsibilities


American School Counselor Association. (2010). Ethical standards for school counselors. Retrieved from

American School Counselor Association. (2012). The ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author.

American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. Retrieved from

Bardhoshi, G. & Duncan K. (2009) Rural school principal’s perceptions of the school counselor’s role. The Rural Educator, 30(3), 16-24.

Bernard, J.M. (1979). Supervisor training: A discrimination model. Counselor Education and Supervision, 19, 740-748.

Bernard, J. M., & Goodyear, R. K. (2009). Fundamentals of clinical supervision (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Bickmore, D. L., & Curry, J. R. (2013). The induction of school counselors: Meeting personal and professional needs. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 21(1), 6-27. doi:10.1080/13611267.2013.784057

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2009). 2009 Standards. Retrieved from

Dollarhide, C. T., & Miller, G. M. (2006). Supervision for preparation and practice of school counselors: Pathways to excellence. Counselor Education and Supervision, 45, 242-252.

Erickson, S. (2001). Multiple relationships in rural counseling, Family Journal, 9(3), 302-304.

Hann-Morrison D. (2011) The varied roles of school counselors in rural settings. Georgia School Counselors Association Journal, 18(1), 26-39.

Hendricks, B., Bradley, L. J., Brogan III, W. C., & Brogan, C. (2009). Shelly: A case study focusing on ethics and counselor wellness. Family Journal, 17(4), 355-359. doi:10.1177/1066480709348034

Koch, S. P. (2007). Training rural special educators online to teach social skills. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 26(4), 16-20.

Lambie, G. S., & Sias, S. M. (2009). An integrative psychological developmental model of supervision for professional school counselors-in-training. Journal of Counseling & Development, 87(3), 349-356.

Luke, M., & Bernard, J. M. (2006). The school counseling supervision model: An extension of the Discrimination Model. Counselor Education and Supervision, 45(4), 282-295.

Luke, M., Ellis, M. V., & Bernard, J. M. (2011). School counselor supervisors’ perceptions of the Discrimination Model of supervision. Counselor Education & Supervision, 50(5), 328-343.

Luke, M., & Goodrich, K. M. (2012). LGBTQ responsive school counseling supervision. The Clinical Supervisor, 31(1), 81-102.

Luke, M., & Gordon, C. (2011). A discourse analysis of school counseling supervisory e-mail. Counselor Education & Supervision, 50(4), 274-291.

Luke, M., & Gordon, C. (2012). Supervisors' use of reinforcement, reframing, and advice to re-author the supervisory narrative through e-mail supervision. Clinical Supervisor, 31(2), 159-177. doi:10.1080/07325223.2013.730020

McAdams III, V. T., & Wyatt, K. L. (2010). The regulation of technology-assisted distance counseling and supervision in the United States: An analysis of current extent, trends, and implications. Counselor Education & Supervision, 49(3), 179-192.

McCarthy, C., Van Horn Kerne, V., Calfa, N. A., Lambert, R. G., & Guzman, M. (2010). An exploration of school counselors’ demands and resources: Relationship to stress, biographic, and caseload characteristics. Professional School Counseling, 13(3), 146-158.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Miller, G. M., & Dollarhide, C. T. (2006). Supervision in schools: Building pathways to excellence. Counselor Education and Supervision, 45, 296-303.

O’Connell, W. P. (2012). Secondary school administrators’ attitudes toward confidentiality in school counseling. National Association of Secondary School Principals, NASSP Bulletin, 96(4), 350-363.

Oser, C. B., Biebel, E. P., Pullen, E., & Harp, K. L. H. (2013). Causes, consequences, and prevention of burnout among substance abuse treatment counselors: A rural versus urban comparison. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(1), 17-27.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rios, B. D. (1988). “Rural"--A concept beyond definition? Retrieved January 15, 2015, (ED296820)

Saba, R. G. (1991). The rural school counselor: Relations among rural sociology, counselor role, and counselor training. Counselor Education and Supervision, 30(4), 322-329.

Somody, C., Henderson, P., Cook, K., & Zambrano, E. (2008). A working system of school counselor supervision. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 22-33.

Storlie, C. A., & Smith, C. (2012). The effects of a wellness intervention in supervision. Clinical Supervisor, 31(2), 228-239. doi:10.1080/07325223.2013.732504

Sutton, J., M., & Pearson, R. (2002). The practice of school counseling in rural and small town schools. Professional School Counseling, 5(4), 266-276.

Swank, J. M., & Tyson, L. (2012). School counseling site supervisor training: A web-based approach. Professional School Counseling, 16(1), 40-47.

U.S. Census Bureau (2010). Urban and rural definitions. Retrieved January 22, 2015, from

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Publication of the National Rural Education Association -

Report problems or questions about to the website to