Clinical supervision and consultation have long been considered integral elements of training and maintaining competency for psychologists and other mental health professionals. One of the primary responsibilities of supervisors is to help with the professional socialization of supervisees; instilling in them an understanding of the relevant ethical principles and standards is a significant component of this charge.

Although students may have considerable knowledge from graduate courses in professional ethics, only in the context of clinical work do the nuances and complexities of ethical issues begin to emerge. Supervisors must be present and attentive to capture and fully utilize those proverbial "teachable moment" in which the applications of ethical principles and standards may be recognized and internalized. The potential for misunderstanding and misapplication is significant for novice clinicians.

Even seasoned professionals are vulnerable to ethical errors caused by other factors such as mismanaged countertransference, lack of knowledge about evolving standards, and personal problems that compromises objectivity and effectiveness. Supervisors and consultants must provide the guidance necessary to protect the welfare of clients, educate supervisees, and facilitate the professional development of consultees.

The Ethics of Supervision and Consultation: Practical Guidance for Mental Health Professionals represents the confluence of ethics with supervision and consultation. Supervision and consultation are treated as discrete areas of specialization. Ethics codes and specialty guidelines are analyzed in terms of their applications to this work. Supervisors and consultants are provided with both theoretical concepts and practical strategies for incorporating ethical principles into their work.

Table of Contents



  1. The Ethical Practice of Supervision and Consultation
  2. Ethical Practice Standards for Supervision and Consultation
  3. Psychotherapy-Based Models of Supervision: Ethical Challenges
  4. Developmental Models of Supervision
  5. Boundaries and Multiple Relationships
  6. Informed Consent to Supervision and Consultation
  7. Consultation and Supervision Groups
  8. Mandated Supervision: Ethical Challenges for Supervisors and Supervisees
  9. Documentation of Supervision and Consultation

Appendix A: Ethical Issues—Definitions

Appendix B: Psychology Professional Associations—Ethics Codes

Appendix C: Counseling Professional Associations—Ethics Codes

Appendix D: Other Mental Health Professional Associations—Ethics Codes

Appendix E: Mental Health Professional Associations—Ethical and Specialty Guidelines

Appendix F: Clinical Case Presentation Format

Appendix G: Summary of Case Consultation or Supervision

Appendix H: Clinical Record Checklist

Appendix I: Clinical Record Quality Assessment



About the Author

Author Bio

Janet T. Thomas, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She earned a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has been in independent practice since 1991. In addition to psychotherapy and assessment, her clinical work includes clinical consultation and supervision with psychologists and other mental health professionals as well as specialized work with those facing ethical dilemmas, licensing board complaints, and lawsuits. Professional experience includes work in an in-patient psychiatric hospital, a medical clinic, a rehabilitation unit, a community mental health agency, an assessment clinic, and college counseling centers.

Dr. Thomas began teaching psychology graduate students in 1990. She has served on the adjunct faculties of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; the University of St. Thomas (Minneapolis campus); and Argosy University, Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has taught professional ethics, counseling skills, practicum, supervision and consultation, and professional psychological writing.

Dr. Thomas has been the recipient of several awards for her work, including Outstanding Student Advisor and Outstanding Faculty Member at Saint Mary's University and the Minnesota Women in Psychology Founding Mothers' Award for her contributions to that organization and its mission.

Professional contributions include journal articles, book chapters, and presentations on topics related to ethics and supervision in Minnesota and nationwide. Dr. Thomas is a former chair of Minnesota Women Psychologists and of the Minnesota Psychological Association's Ethics Committee.

Reviews & Awards
This is an excellent book. With its publication, Janet Thomas makes a major contribution to the mental health field by weaving together supervision and professional ethics in a single comprehensive resource. This book is appropriate for supervisors in each mental health discipline and for advanced graduate students preparing to begin their own training in supervision.
—Ethics & Behavior