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Schlesinger, H.J. (1995). Supervision for Fun and Profit: Or How to Tell If the Fun is Profitable. Psychoanal. Inq., 15(2):190-210.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 15(2):190-210

Supervision for Fun and Profit: Or How to Tell If the Fun is Profitable

Herbert J. Schlesinger, Ph.D.

Amore narrowly descriptive and, certainly, more dignified title might be, “Diagnosis and Evaluation in Psychoanalytic Supervision.” But I wanted to allude to the spirit of my intentions, which is that the intrinsic pleasures in supervising, in participating in the growth and development of a younger colleague, are matched by a new set of responsibilities. I chose the more fanciful title because neither evaluation nor, to a lesser extent, diagnosis are generally thought of as intrinsic to the functions of an analyst. Indeed, they are commonly thought of as alien to the spirit of psychoanalysis. After all, the analyst is expected to listen nonjudgmentally, and although the matters that interest the analyst are distributed among diagnostic categories, they are not captured by formal diagnosis. And yet, the analyst when supervising must find a place for both functions in his or her repertoire. Is there a way in which these functions essential to supervising can be found congenial to the analyst within the supervisor? A digression is necessary before addressing this question directly.


Our working assumption as psychoanalytic teachers and supervisors is that both the science and the art of doing psychoanalysis can be taught. And while that is true, it is more to the point to say that they can be learned.

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