Contributing factors for supervisory relationships, cultural discussions, and acculturation process in supervision with Asian international counseling trainees
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Due to different cultural background, international counseling trainees present unique supervision experiences and express needs that are different from the needs of U.S. trainees. Especially Asian international counseling trainees, they have values, beliefs, and languages that are considered to be very different from the ones found in Western culture. While these trainees bring many benefits to their programs in the United States, not enough empirical research has been conducted to develop culturally appropriate supervision approaches to meet their training needs. The present study focused on supervisors and Asian international counseling trainees in positive supervisory relationships and explored the effects of the individual characteristics (cognitive style, theoretical orientation, and supervisory style) on the supervision relationship, cultural discussions in supervision, and the trainee’s acculturation process. Using quantitative methodology, data collected from 19 pairs of supervisors and Asian international trainees in counseling related programs was analyzed to examine group differences in individual characteristics, the relationship between individual characteristics from both parties, and the predictions of cultural discussions and trainees’ acculturation levels by the individual characteristics. The results found that there were differences, which might affect by cultural factors, in cognitive style and supervisory style preference between supervisors and trainees. Although the similarities of these individual characteristics between supervisors and trainees could not predict cultural discussions in supervision, supervisors with stronger Humanistic/Existential theoretical orientation seemed to encourage more cultural discussions in supervision. A stronger Asian identity was reported by trainees in supervisory pairs with more similar theoretical orientations. Trainees’ preference for Affiliative supervisory style and Multicultural theoretical orientation and supervisors’ preference for Family Systems theoretical orientation were predictive of trainees’ Asian identity. Furthermore, several correlations were found among the individual characteristics between supervisors and trainees, including supervisors’ Multicultural preferences and trainees’ Self-disclosing preferences. Implication of this study suggested that supervisors should be aware of the cultural differences and the strengths and the weaknesses of one’s individual characteristics. Taking these individual characteristics into consideration may help supervisors of Asian international counseling trainees to enhance their supervisory relationship, promote cultural discussions, and facilitate trainee’s acculturation process. Limitations and recommendations were addressed for future research.