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Supervisee resistance is often construed as an execution of their power to diminish the effects of the supervisors’ power in the field of counseling psychology. Such a limited view of resistance may ignore its sociocultural context and further support the social structure of domination that necessitates resistance in the first place. Given that resistance and power are connected yet distinct concepts, understanding resistance is necessary to better understand power relations. The discipline of psychology largely recognizes the ability of organized, collective resistance to make social changes, although not that of everyday forms of resistance that intend to survive and simultaneously sabotage domination. To expand the understanding of everyday resistance by recognizing agency that is culturally situated in social relations, this qualitative study used semi-structured interviews with seven supervisee participants to investigate their everyday resistance in clinical supervision, particularly focusing on the tactics they employed in interactions with their supervisors and what was achieved through those tactics, and the agency and subjectivity interwoven with the resistant acts upheld by cultural or professional discourses. The results indicate that the tactics employed (for example, selective presentation of cases or self, note-taking, acting positive, and pretended speculation) are not only aimed at protecting their professional integrity and therapist subjectivity, but also at maintaining harmonious supervisory relationships that may generate valuable social networks (guanxi) for future career development. Under the circumstances in which supervisees are unable to abide by both the professional ideology and cultural ethics of honoring instructors, they adopt the identity of a ‘good student’ to maneuver through difficult situations in the interest of guanxi. Through these tactics, supervisees demonstrated their agency despite being in vulnerable positions.
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with the support of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.