Blaming the Victim? I am writing in response to the editorial piece titled “Bullying and Intimidation in Clinical Supervision” by James M. Mancinelli. First of all, as a current SLP graduate student, I appreciate coverage of this issue. I am concerned with the language that was used to place undue blame on the ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   February 01, 2018
Blaming the Victim?
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Professional Issues & Training / Inbox
Inbox   |   February 01, 2018
Blaming the Victim?
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.23022018.5
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.23022018.5
I am writing in response to the editorial piece titled “Bullying and Intimidation in Clinical Supervision” by James M. Mancinelli. First of all, as a current SLP graduate student, I appreciate coverage of this issue.
I am concerned with the language that was used to place undue blame on the victims of bullying and intimidation. How about the role of the university? How about a focus on a professional relationship where there is only room for professional behavior? Blame should never be placed on victims. How about prefacing the students’ behaviors behind a few comparable stressors, such as coursework, preparation for exams and the Praxis, and thesis/portfolio requirements, as was a decency afforded to the field clinical educator (FCE) group?
If some clinical disasters can be boiled down to the FCE’s philosophy and the student’s personality traits, then which do you think is easier to change? Maybe the mismatch could have been avoided if both parties were invited to provide compatibility input? What is described [in the article] is a one-way agreement where the graduate student is interviewed by the FCE and judged to be suitable for the practicum. How about we include students in these pairings in both narrow and broad terms?
This is an issue that impacts students immediately but also our field in general. Students and young professionals are the future of this field. I pose that we shall begin to address it when there is a comprehensive analysis of all parties’ roles and all contributing factors to this very important issue.
Brittany Naugle, Meridian, Indiana
Author’s Response
Both parties have different perspectives on the clinical process as it unfolds and both believe that their perspective reflects the truth, as I suggested in the section “Your side, my side and the truth.” This is the nature of interpersonal dynamics during conflict. I was not “blaming the victim” or exonerating the FCE. The clinical supervision process is bidirectional, built on the foundational principles of understanding, planning, observing, analysis and integration (as identified by Jean Anderson in the 1988 “The Supervisory Process in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology”), incorporating mutual respect, dignity and openness to communication.
Regarding the student’s personality traits, it was based on my experience with students over 14 years in this position. I find that when shy, reserved or unassertive students are under the supervision of an FCE using bullying and intimidation approaches, they suffer greatly, simply because they are being authentic. This is unfortunate, but true, and even more unfortunate is that this type of FCE may be unwilling or unable to make adjustments, resulting in the perfect storm.
In response to your point regarding “compatibility,” all students are informed they must interview with the FCE. Their placement at that site is not guaranteed until they are accepted as a good fit. The student certainly has the right to formulate his or her own opinion about whether this is a good fit, which makes him or her an active participant in the decision-making process.
Finally, this essay was only the first step in this discussion.
James Mancinelli, Philadelphia

Thank you for sharing your perspective on bullying and intimidation in clinical supervision. We have asked the author to address your points.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
February 2018
Volume 23, Issue 2