Although formal, assigned supervision is a potent source of learning and guidance for psychotherapy trainees, many beginning psychotherapists use other, informal sources of supervision or consultation for advice and support. Results of an online survey of beginning trainees (N = 146) indicate that other than their formally assigned supervisor, trainees most often consult with colleagues in their program, their own psychotherapist, and their significant other; that they're most likely to seek these other sources of help when they're feeling stuck or feel they've made a clinical mistake; that they do so because they need extra reassurance and suggestions; that they feel the advice given from these sources is helpful; and that they don't especially regret sharing this information. Several case examples are used to illustrate these points. Discussing clinical material with informal sources is, apparently, a great deal more common than typically acknowledged, and as such, has implications for training programs (including discussions of ethics) and formal supervision.
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