Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Dr. Greg Brack

Second Advisor

Dr. Catharina Chang

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrea Dixon

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Philip Gnilka


Supervision of counseling services is a crucial component to professional counselor development (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009). A common and pervasive threat to cross-cultural interpersonal relationships, such as supervision, is the presence of racial microaggressions (Constantine & Sue, 2007). According to Carter (2007) and Helms, Nicholas, and Green (2012), microaggressions are so damaging, that they may even trigger traumatic responses in recipients. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among racial microaggressions in supervision, the supervisory working alliance, and traumatic symptomatology in supervisees. This study collected survey data from 86 participants who self-identified as racial, ethnic, or cultural minority group members and who were counselors-in-training, professional counselors, or counselor educators. Data collection included responses to demographic questions, the adapted Experiences of Black Supervisors Scale (EBSS adapted; Barnes, 2011), the Trauma Symptom Check-list 40 (TSC-40; Elliot & Briere, 1992), and the Supervisory Working Alliance Inventory – Trainee Version (SWAI-T; Efstation, Patton, & Kardash, 1990). Bivariate correlations revealed significant relationships among all three of the main variables. The SWAI-T full-scale scores had a moderate negative correlation with the EBSS (adapted) full-scale scores (r = -.637, p < .01) and a moderate negative correlation with the TSC-40 full-scale scores (r = -.372, p < .01). The EBSS (adapted) full-scale scores had a moderate positive correlation with the TSC-40 full-scale scores (r = .513, p < .01). Regression analysis yielded a model whereby 40.6% of the variation in the supervisory alliance can be explained by microaggressions in supervision F (1, 48) = 32.752, p < .01. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis determined that the presence of traumatic experiences does not add to the predictive capacity of the model. The results suggest that the presence of racial microaggressions is an important impediment to the supervisory working alliance. Implications, limitations, and future directions were provided.