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Wolstein, B. (1984). Reply. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:148-154.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:148-154


Benjamin Wolstein, Ph.D.

MY BRIEF PROPOSAL TO ENLARGE the individual model of psychoanalytic supervision was first presented and briefly discussed during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Council of Fellows of the White Institute, April 1983, and then more carefully discussed at some length during a subsequent meeting two months later. This proposal, as the synopsis of those evenings of discussion makes clear, evoked a wide diversity of responses.

That there should be almost as many diverse responses to this proposal as listeners is reasonable and expectable. For the sort of questions I am raising about the individual model of psychoanalytic supervision already in place is, some personal measure, from different points of view, more deeply being felt by all. Hence, the increasingly critical examination now being undertaken in the different perspectives of the whole complex edifice of supervision. From within, such aspects as: canon of the supervisory inquiry, conduct of the process, evaluation of the outcome, the direct experience of the two coparticipants; from without, such as: its purpose in the overall pattern of psychoanalytic training, its function in the organizational structure of a psychoanalytic institute, its meaning in the professional lives of the supervisors and candidates themselves. Moreover, the recent surge of interest in programs for the post-postgraduate training of psychoanalysts in the practice of supervision further attests to the self-conscious growth of this new concern. So does, in addition, the productive outgrowth of a special branch of psychoanalytic literature—of which, by the way, the present discussion is part—explicitly devoted to the various aspects of supervision.

During the two Council meetings at which this proposal was considered, a number of Fellows raised probing questions with traits of nuance and emphasis unique, in my opinion, to their individualities in turn.

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