NYMC Faculty Publications

Conquering the Maternal Wall: Trainee Perspectives on Supervisory Behaviors that Assist in Managing the Challenges of New Parenthood During Clinical Internship

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Training and Education in Professional Psychology

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Women comprise three quarters of students who graduate from psychology doctoral programs (Cope, Michalski. & Folwer, 2016), but gender disparity in pay and position prestige persist in the workforce (American Psychological Association, 2018; Wicherski, Mulvey, Hart, & Kohout, 2011). Women who are mothers may experience a "maternal wall" (Crosby, Williams, & Biernat, 2004; Williams, 2005) that further impedes professional advancement. Because supervisors are positioned to facilitate trainees' professional development and supervision processes have been found to differ based on gender (Chung, Marshall, & Gordon, 2001; Granello. 2003; Hindes & Andrew's, 2011), more work is needed to highlight the unique challenges faced by trainees who are mothers and to demonstrate how supervisors' behaviors can help trainees navigate these challenges. This article describes supervisory experiences of trainees who identified as new mothers during clinical internship. Authors share paraphrased supervision interactions on topics positioned at the intersection of training and motherhood to illustrate how supervisors impacted trainees who were navigating these challenges. Authors identify gender-based discrimination as harmful to the supervisory alliance and highlight self-disclosure, flexibility, and corrective feedback as supervisor behaviors that enhance the supervisory alliance and support trainees. The discussion section situates trainees' needs in the context of national and site policies that impact mothers.

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