Online Group Supervision in Graduate Psychology Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Shulamit Geller School of Behavioral Sciences The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo
  • Keren Hanetz-Gamliel School of Behavioral Sciences The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo
  • Sigal Levy The Statistics Education Unit The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo



online supervision, group processes, professional identity, COVID-19


Group supervision, a common method in graduate psychology training, shifted abruptly to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to increase understanding of psychology graduate students’ perception of online group supervision during COVID-19 by focusing on the group process and the students’ professional identity formation. Data were collected through an online survey comparing an online COVID-19 group sample with a pre-COVID-19 in-person sample. Our findings showed no difference between online group supervision during COVID-19 and in-person group supervision prior to COVID-19 in students’ reports of group processes and the prevalence of professional identity statuses. However, group processes differed according to students’ professional identity statuses while accounting for the supervision format. We discuss the results of our study and offer several theoretical and practical implications regarding online supervision.


Author Biographies

Shulamit Geller, School of Behavioral Sciences The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo

Senior Lecturer
Clinical Psychologist

Chair, Graduate program in Clinical Psychology
The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo

Keren Hanetz-Gamliel, School of Behavioral Sciences The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo

Clinical Psychologist

Head of Child Clinical Psychology Program

The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo

Sigal Levy, The Statistics Education Unit The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo

Statistical Education Unit,

The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo


Abbass, A., Arthey, S., Elliott, J., Fedak, T., Nowoweiski, D., Markovski, J., & Nowoweiski, S. (2011). Web-conference supervision for advanced psychotherapy training: A practical guide. Psychotherapy, 48(2), 109–118.‏

Alschuler, M., Silver, T., & McArdle, L. (2015). Strengths-based group supervision with social work students. Groupwork, 25(1), 34–57.‏

Amanvermez, Y., Zeren, S. G., Erus, S. M., & Genc, A. B. (2020). Supervision and peer supervision in online setting: Experiences of psychological counselors. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 20(86), 249–268.

Andersen, C. L., & West, R. E. (2021). “We overwhelm them with hope”: How online mentors can support online learners. Online Learning, 25(4), 338–415. ‏

Ayo, Y., Burck, C., & Daniel G. (2010). Mirrors and reflections: Processes of systemic supervision. London: Karnac.

Bakali, J. V., Wilberg, T., Klungsøyr, O., & Lorentzen, S. (2013). Development of group climate in short-and long-term psychodynamic group psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 63(3), 366–393.‏

Barnes, S. J. (2021). Understanding terror states of online users in the context of COVID-19: An application of Terror Management Theory. Computers in Human Behavior, 125, 106967.

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529. 0033-2909.117.3.497

Blanchard, A. L. (2021). The effects of COVID-19 on virtual working within online groups. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 24(2), 290–296.‏

Bordin, E. S. (1983). A working alliance-based model of supervision. The Counseling Psychologist, 11(1), 35–42.‏

Brusadelli, E., Ferrari, L., Benetti, M., Bruzzese, S., Tonelli, G. M., & Gullo, S. (2020). Online supportive group as social intervention to face COVID lockdown: A qualitative study on psychotherapists, psychology trainees and students, and community people. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process, and Outcome, 23(3), 279–290.‏

Burlingame, G. M., McClendon, D. T., & Alonso, J. (2011). Cohesion in group therapy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 34–42.‏

Cabiati, E. (2021). Social workers helping each other during the COVID-19 pandemic: Online mutual support groups. International Social Work, 64(5), 676–688.‏

Campbell, D. T. (1958). Common fate, similarity, and other indices of the status of aggregates of persons as social entities. Behavioral Scientist, 3, 14–25.

Chen, S., Li, F., Lin, C., Han, Y., Nie, X., Portnoy, R. N., & Qiao, Z. (2020). Challenges and recommendations for mental health providers during the COVID-19 pandemic: The experience of China’s First University-based mental health team. Globalization and Health, 16(1), 1–10.‏

Christensen, T. M., & Kline, W. B. (2001). Anxiety as a condition for learning in group supervision. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 26(4), 385–396.‏

Crawford, J., Butler-Henderson, K., Rudolph, J., Malkawi, B., Glowatz, M., Burton, R., ... & Lam, S. (2020). COVID-19: 20 countries’ higher education intra-period digital pedagogy responses. Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 3(1), 1–20.‏

Crocetti, E., Avanzi, L., Hawk, S. T., Fraccaroli, F., & Meeus, W. (2014). Personal and social facets of job identity: A person-centered approach. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(2), 281–300.‏ doi:10.1080/01933920108413786

Crocetti, E., Luyckx, K., Scrignaro, M., & Sica, L. S. (2011). Identity formation in Italian emerging adults: A cluster-analytic approach and associations with psychosocial functioning. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 8(5), 558–572.‏

Elliott, J., Abbass, A., & Copper, J. (2016). International group supervision using videoconference technology. In T. Rousmaniere & E. Renfro-Michel, E. (Eds.), Using technology to enhance clinical supervision (pp.191–202). John Wiley & Sons.

Findyartini, A., Anggraeni, D., Husin, J. M., & Greviana, N. (2020). Exploring medical students’ professional identity formation through written reflections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Public Health Research, 9(Suppl 1).‏

Fleming, L. M., Glass, J. A., Fujisaki, S., & Toner, S. L. (2010). Group process and learning: A grounded theory model of group supervision. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4(3), 194–203.‏

Gullo, S., Coco, G. L., Di Fratello, C., Giannone, F., Mannino, G., & Burlingame, G. (2015). Group climate, cohesion and curative climate. A study on the common factors in group process and their relations with members attachment dimensions. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 18(1), 10–20.

Hanetz Gamliel, K., Geller, S., Illuz, B., & Levy, S. (2020). The contribution of group supervision processes to the formation of professional identity among novice psychotherapists. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 70(3), 375–398.‏

Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. (2012). Supervision in the helping professions. McGraw-Hill Education and Open Universities Press.

Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics Publication (CBS, 2020), Public Use File (PUF):

Ladany, N., Mori, Y., & Mehr, K. E. (2013). Effective and ineffective supervision. The Counseling Psychologist, 41(1), 28-47.‏

Lese, K. P., & MacNair-Semands, R. R. (2000). The Therapeutic Factors Inventory: Development of a scale. Group, 24(4), 303–317.‏

Linton, J. M., & Hedstrom, S. M. (2006). An exploratory qualitative investigation of group processes in group supervision: Perceptions of masters-level practicum students. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 31(1), 51–72.‏

Livni, D., Crowe, T. P., & Gonsalvez, C. J. (2012). Effects of supervision modality and intensity on alliance and outcomes for the supervisee. Rehabilitation Psychology, 57(2), 178–186.

Lowenthal, P., Borup, J., West, R., & Archambault, L. (2020). Thinking beyond Zoom: Using asynchronous video to maintain connection and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 28(2), 383–391.‏

MacKenzie, K. R. (1983). The clinical application of a group climate measure. In R. R. Dies & K. R. MacKenzie (Eds.), Advances in group psychotherapy: Integrating research and practice (pp. 159–170). International Universities Press.

Mancini, T., Caricati, L., Panari, C., & Tonarelli, A. (2015). Personal and social aspects of professional identity: An extension of Marcia’s identity status model applied to a sample of university students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 89, 140–150.‏

Marmarosh, C. L., Forsyth, D. R., Strauss, B., & Burlingame, G. M. (2020). The psychology of the COVID-19 pandemic: A group-level perspective. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 24(3), 122–138.‏

Miller, L. (2020). Remote supervision in primary care during the Covid-19 pandemic: The “new normal”? Education for Primary Care, 31(6), 332–336.‏

Nadan, Y., Shachar, R., Cramer, D., Leshem, T., Levenbach, D., Rozen, R., ... & Cramer, S. (2020). Behind the (virtual) mirror: Online live supervision in couple and family therapy. Family Process, 59(3), 997–1006.

Ögren, M. L., & Jonsson, C. O. (2003). Psychotherapeutic skill following group supervision according to supervisees and supervisors. Clinical Supervisor, 22, 35–58.

Parks, C. D. (2020). Group dynamics when battling a pandemic. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 24(3), 115–121.‏

Pei, L., & Wu, H. (2019). Does online learning work better than offline learning in undergraduate medical education? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medical Education Online, 24(1), 1666538.‏

Pennington, M., Patton, R., & Katafiasz, H. (2019). Cybersupervision in psychotherapy. In H. Weinberg & A. Rolnick (Eds.), Theory and practice of online therapy (pp. 79–95). Routledge.‏

Pratt, M. G., Rockmann, K. W., & Kaufmann, J. B. (2006). Constructing professional identity: The role of work and identity learning cycles in the customization of identity among medical residents. Academy of Management Journal, 49(2), 235–262.‏

Pyszczynski, T., Lockett, M., Greenberg, J., & Solomon, S. (2021). 2021). Terror management theory and the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 61(2), 173-189. 10.1177/0022167820959488.

Reese, R. J., Aldarondo, F., Anderson, C. R., Lee, S. J., Miller, T. W., & Burton, D. (2009). Telehealth in clinical supervision: A comparison of supervision formats. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 15(7), 356–361.‏

Robak, R. W., Kangos, K. A., Chiffriller, S. H., & Griffin, P. W. (2013). The working alliance in group counseling: An exploratory study. Psychological Reports, 113(2), 591–604.‏

Rønnestad, M. H., & Skovholt, T. M. (2003). The journey of the counselor and therapist: Research findings and perspectives on professional development. Journal of Career Development, 30(1), 5–44.‏

Rousmaniere, T., Abbass, A., & Frederickson, J. (2014). New developments in technology‐assisted supervision and training: A practical overview. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(11), 1082–1093.‏

Shakil, M., Ashraf, F., Muazzam, A., Amjad, M., & Javed, S. (2021). Work status, death anxiety and psychological distress during COVID-19 pandemic: Implications of the terror management theory. Death Studies.‏

Scharff, A., Breiner, C. E., Ueno, L. F., Underwood, S. B., Merritt, E. C., Welch, L. M., ... & Litchford, G. B. (2021). Shifting a training clinic to teletherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic: a trainee perspective. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 34(3-4), 676-686.‏

Shengxiao, N. I. E., Chao, S. U. N., Lei, W. A. N. G., & Xia, W. A. N. G. (2021). The professional identity of nursing students and their intention to leave the nursing profession during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Journal of Nursing Research, 29(2), e139.‏

Shigemura, J., Ursano, R. J., Morganstein, J. C., Kurosawa, M., & Benedek, D. M. (2020). Public responses to the novel 2019 coronavirus (2019‐nCoV) in Japan: Mental health consequences and target populations. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 74(4), 281–282.‏

Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33(1), 1–39.‏

Torales, J., O’Higgins, M., Castaldelli-Maia, J. M., & Ventriglio, A. (2020). The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(4), 317–320.‏

Traube, D. E., Cederbaum, J. A., Taylor, A., Naish, L., & Rau, A. (2021). Telehealth training and provider experience of delivering behavioral health services. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 48(1), 93–102.‏

Weinberg, H. (2021). Obstacles, challenges, and benefits of online group psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 74(2), 83–88.‏

Yalom, I., & Leszcz, M. (2005). Theory and practice of group psychotherapy. Basic Books.‏

Zhai, Y., & Du, X. (2020). Mental health care for international Chinese students affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(4), e22.‏

Zhang, Z., Fu, W., Tian, C., Zhang, F., Zhao, B., Mao, J., & Saligan, L. N. (2021). Professional identity of Chinese nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak: A nation-wide cross-sectional study. Nurse Education in Practice, 52, 103040.






Section II