Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Drake, Chad


The present study implemented quantitative (Phase I) and qualitative (Phase II) analyses to investigate the relationships that the constructs of psychological flexibility (PF) and psychological inflexibility (PI) had with helping profession trainees’ experience of conflict in clinical supervision, conflict management styles, and ratings of the quality of the supervisoryrelationship. Phase-I results (n = 290) revealed no relationship between conflict prevalence, frequency, or distress with overall levels of PF and PI. However, secondary analyses suggested individual components of PF and PI as measured by the Multidimensional Psychological Flexibility Inventory (MPFI; Rolffs et al., 2016) may be related to these constructs, including Defusion, Self as Context, Values, Fusion, Lack of Contact with Values, and Inaction. Participants’ levels of PF and PI predicted most conflict management styles. PF was especially related to the Integrating style and PI was especially related to the Avoiding style. Participants’ levels of PF were also positively correlated with the quality of the supervisory relationship. Phase II results from semi-structured interviews interpreted via the Listening Guide method revealed relationships between four participants’ experiences of conflict in supervision and components of PF and PI. Three themes emerged across the interviews: negative affect, inexperience, and accepting responsibility. Qualitative findings were also related to various components of PF and PI, especially Self as Context, Experiential Avoidance, and Fusion.




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