Psychodynamic supervision deals with unconscious dynamics in the supervisor, the supervisee and the client. This unconscious material manifests in transference, counter-transference and parallel process.
Supervisee transference onto the supervisor has to be named for the supervisee to look at in personal therapy. If it is not named, the supervisee’s own personal issues can be interfering with the work with the client. However, personal issues can be addressed in supervision when it increases the potential of the client work. After all, psychotherapists literally are their jobs so space to look at themselves in relation to their client is important.
This process helps the supervisee to distinguish between their counter-transference regarding their client and their own personal issues. The process of being able to identify and separate these is part of the development of the supervisee’s own ‘internal supervisor’.
Parallel process is the unconscious parallel of the therapist/client relationship. The supervisor becomes the therapist and the supervisee literally becomes the client; a space for the supervisee to walk in their client’s shoes for a time, register how that feels and take the learning from it.
The supervisee will unconsciously mimic the client to show the supervisor how the client is in a session. The origin of this is from our own childhood and mimicry at play: ‘Children play hardest at games and repeat those games most often when they are trying to come to terms with some experience which is painful or are trying to master the anxiety aroused. (Mattinson, 1975, P. 43 and 44). Therefore, in supervision, the supervisee ‘in his attempt to describe what he cannot put into words, he unconsciously mimics.’ (Mattinson, 1975, P. 45) For a supervisor, it is the behaviour out of character with the supervisee that identifies the client and their behaviours.
Psychodynamic Supervision Dublin
For a wider description of how supervision works, check out http://www.thomaslarkin.ie/counselling-supervision-dublin/