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Frijling-Schreuder, E.C. (1970). On Individual Supervision. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:363-370.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:363-370

On Individual Supervision

E. C.M. Frijling-Schreuder


Individual supervision is a process in the candidate and in the supervisor. In the candidate the working alliance shows a development towards maturity in the professional situation. The learning process may show improvement in the capacity for empathy and in the kind and timing of interventions, and may be followed by better handling of the transference and by insight into the psychoanalytic process. In the supervisor the process of acquainting himself with his candidate's capacities and difficulties goes hand in hand with growing insight into the future colleague's possibilities as an analyst.

Individual supervision is based upon contact between two colleagues at an adult level. One of its aims is to arrive at a mature identification process in the candidate, because identification is a precondition for every learning process. The candidate's initial anxiety can be counterbalanced by his supervisor's objectivity and empathy. In group supervision anxiety may be diminished by knowing that the other students are in a similar position. In addition, group members may profit from each other's observations. In the psychiatric training of residents these group experiences may be of high value. However, in psychoanalytic training this procedure has great disadvantages because membership of a group inevitably leads to regressive processes. In particular, the primitive, archaic forms of rivalry over the leader and between group members are aroused. It often happens that this kind of rivalry is warded off by mutual admiration, leading to unrealistic feelings of security. The overvaluation of each other's capacities may make for severe disillusionment in the future. Another outcome of the group situation may be an extreme vulnerability to criticism. Sometimes the group

situation results in a superficial handling or denial of the candidate's difficulties. The regressive processes in the group often lead to more primitive forms of identification, hampering the mature identification which is a basic condition for the learning process.

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