Dimensions of Supervision



Session 1: 9/23/19

Session 2: 11/4/19

Session 3: 12/9/19

Session 4: 1/27/20

Session 5: 3/24/20

Session 6: 5/5/20


Throughout the course of the therapeutic relationship a great deal of emotional teaching, learning and training takes place from either side of the couch or the circle.  The current literature in complex dynamic systems,  relational theory and other contemporary points of view indicates that all participants are mutually influencing each other in both conscious and unconscious ways.          

As analysts we teach our patients how to be an effective patient an effective patient (or group) with us.  Concurrently, the patient is teaching us, to the limited extent that most patients are aware of, how to be both helpful and not hurtful to them.  Dreams, slips of the tongue, stories about friends and relatives or enactments are some of the various strategies that patients utilize in an attempt to communicate what we need to know about how to facilitate the environment for their growth the patient.

One  function of a third party, the supervisor is to assist the analyst to more deeply understand what the patient/group is trying to teach us or what we are inadvertently teaching the patient/group.   Other functions of he supervisor might be the teaching of technique, specific theoretical ideas, and tolerating the emotional demands of the treatment situation. Ideally, the supervisory situation is a collaborative encounter that is both nourishing and challenging.

Much of the processes that take place between patient and analyst seem also to take place within the supervisory relationship.  The overall task of the analyst supervisor task is mostly different, analyst increased clinical effectiveness might require emotional growth as well.

In this course we will study the tensions and opportunities of the supervisory relationship.  Reading  material, class discussion and case presentation used to demonstrate styles of supervision will be utilized.


Over the arc of our professional lives, most analysts or psychotherapists will find themselves in a supervisory role.  This might occur as a training analyst within a psychoanalytic training program or often more likely within an agency or private practice supervising psychodynamically  oriented psychotherapists.  While each setting comes with its own expectations which effects the frame of the supervisory experience, the basic core competencies remain similar.

This course is an opportunity to thoughtfully bring awareness to the process of supervision.   As a class “group” we will assist each other to  examine the dynamics, roles, and frames of the supervisory experience. It is my hope that each person will develop  more detailed and expansive ideas of what they consider important in their own supervisory experiences, both as supervisor and supervisee.

Session 1.  Whose idea was this anyway?  Past and current thinking about the supervisory experience.

Marshall, R. (1993)  Perspectives on Supervision: Tea and/or Sympathy.  Modern Psychoanalysis, 18 (1) 45-57.

Watkins, C.E, (2011) The Learning Alliance in Psychoanalytic Supervision: A Fifty Year Retrospective and Prospective., Psychoanal. Psych. 32(3) 451-481.

Ogden, T. (2005) On Psychoanalytic Supervision., Int. J. Psychoanal. 86(5) 1265-1280.

Session 2.  How to fail as a supervisor or supervisee.

Power, A.  (2014) An Impasse in Supervision, Looking Back and thinking again., Relation. Psychoanal.  8(2) 154-171.

Sarnat, J. (2014) Disruptions and Working Through in the Supervisory Process., Psychoanal. Dialogues, 24(5) 532-539.

Sripada, B. A Comparison of a Failed Supervision and a Successful Supervision of the Same Psychoanalytic Case. American Psych. (26) 219-241.

Session 3:  How to succeed as a Supervisor or Supervisee

Berman, E. (2014) Psychoanalytic Supervision in a Heterogenous Theoretical Context: Benefits and Complications., Psychoanal. Dialogues, 24(5) 525-531.

Kernberg, O. (2010) The Supervisors Tasks in Psychoanalytic Supervision., Psychoanal. Q. 79(3)603-627.

Moda, D. (2014) Learning Objectives in Supervision., Psychoanal. Inq. 34(6)528-537.

Session 4:  Parallel process, transference and counter transference and other triads. 

Bromberg, P.(1982) The Supervisory Process as a Parallel Process in Psychoanalysis.,  Cont. Psychoanal., 18:92-110.

Miller, L. (1999) A Parallel Without Process., Contemp. Psychoanal. 35(4) 557-580.

Session 5: More Recent Developments.

Berman, E. Psychoanalytic Supervision: The Intersubjective Development. Int. J. Psychoanal. 81(2)273-290.

Kantrowitz, J. (2002) The Triadic Match: J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn. 50:939-968.

Watkins, C.E. (2017) Reconsidering Parallel Process., 34(4) 496-515.

Session 6:  Developing your own point of view

Bacal, H. (2011) The Power of Specificity In Psychotherapy-When It Works and When it Doesn’t.  Chap. 10 The Power of Specificity in The process of Supervision.  pgs. 190-222.  Rowman And Littlefield, Lanham, Md.

Meadow, P. Ormont L. Symposium: The Making of a Modern Group Analyst (1993) Meadow, P., Ormont, L., et.al. Modern Psychoanalysis 18(1) 3-30.

Aronson, S. ( 2000 ) Analytic Supervision: All Work and No Play? Contemp. Psychoanal. 36(1):121-132.


Upon completion of the course candidates will be able to:

  1. List elements of the supervisory frame.
  2. Describe the teach/treat dilemma.
  3. Identify counter transference issues within a supervisee’s presentation.
  4. Utilize supervisee’s transference reactions to elaborate aspect of the clinical material.
  5. Describe elements of a failing supervisory experience.
  6. Describe elements of parallel process.
  7. Describe the unique opportunities of supervision within a group.
  8. List 4 elements of a competent supervisor.
  9. Describe the unique tensions of supervision within a psychoanalytic training program.
  10.  Discuss the supervisory experience from a complex systems perspective.
  11.  Contrast the dynamics of supervision with beginning therapists  or advanced clinicians.
  12.  Describe the importance curiosity and collaboration within the supervisory relationship.