Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 424–433 | Cite as

Electronic Communication in Supervisory Relationships: A Mixed Data Survey

  • Markie L. C. Twist
  • Katherine M. Hertlein
  • Amna Haider
Original Paper


Much has been written about online communication between therapists and clients, particularly regarding the feasibility, ethics, and frequency of such practices. Little, however, has been published with regard to electronic communication patterns between therapists and their supervisors. The purpose of this study was to understand if and how electronic communication is used between marriage and family therapy (MFT) supervisees and supervisors. To accomplish this, we administered a mixed data survey to MFT supervisors and supervisees across the United States regarding frequency of interaction via electronic methods. We also assessed comfort level with online supervision, how supervisory participants make determinations when to use online supervision, and when online communication is believed to be most appropriate within MFT supervision. We report both qualitative and quantitative findings regarding the use of online technologies in supervision. Implications for research, training, and supervision are discussed.


Cyber supervision Marriage and family therapy supervision Online supervision 



This project was funded by a grant from the Alaska Association for Marriage and Family Therapy obtained by the first and second authors. Parts of this manuscript were previously presented at the: 2012 Alaska Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Conference in Anchorage, AK, 2012 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC, and at the 2013 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Conference in Portland, OR.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markie L. C. Twist
    • 1
  • Katherine M. Hertlein
    • 2
  • Amna Haider
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin-StoutMenomonieUSA
  2. 2.Marriage and Family Therapy ProgramUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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