Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


With little research on how LGB psychologists-in-training experience supervision and how supervision affects their development as professionals and as LGB individuals, this qualitative study investigated the experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) psychologists-in-training within the supervisory dyad. Included in the analysis were the developmental processes, both as LGB and as professionals, affected by the supervision relationship. Fourteen LGB participants were interviewed via telephone. Interview questions focused on where the individual was in terms of being “out,” what their overall experiences have been in supervision, and the impact of these supervisory relationships on their identity as LGB and as professionals. Participants were also asked select questions derived from the Sell Assessment of Sexual Orientation (SASO) to more intricately define their sexual orientation identity. Data analysis of the interviews followed a grounded theory methodology.

Four categories, Identity, Supervisory Relationships, Climate, and Impact, emerged from the data. Under each category relevant themes emerged: (a) three for Identity, (b) four for Supervisory Relationships, (c) three for Climate, and (d) four for Impact. The core category that emerged was the category Climate; from this an axial paradigm and theoretical propositions evolved. The main findings of this study are that (a) LGB psychologists-in-training develop in a healthy way when they are able to integrate both their sexual orientation identity and their professional identity within the training environment and are hindered in their development when there are barriers to this integration; (b) although “good” and “bad” supervision are construed similarly by supervisees in general, the one difference with regard to LGB supervisees is the added component that in “good” supervision, the supervisor defines “diversity” broadly and in “bad” supervision, the supervisor is less aware of LGB issues as part of diversity; (c) education of LGB issues in all psychology training environments is needed to reduce homonegativity, and heterosexism; and, (d) the impact on LGB psychologists-in-training of homonegative/heterosexist environments and relationships is that trainees not only lose learning opportunities, but also must compensate for this loss on their own. Implications for supervisors, faculty, and future research are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons