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Paidoussi, E.R. (1969). Varied Experiences in Supervision. Contemp. Psychoanal., 5(2):163-168.

(1969). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 5(2):163-168

Varied Experiences in Supervision

E. Rea Paidoussi, M.D.

LOOKING BACK OVER my supervisory experiences during my training and postgraduate years, I find that I have had quite a variety of supervisors from different schools of analytic thought: the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, the William Alanson White Institute, the New York Psychoanalytic, and Columbia schools of psychoanalysis. One should give me credit—I tried them all. When I ask myself what I learned from all of my supervisors, the first answer that comes to mind is: several good habits and probably several bad ones. But, on second thought, I realize that I learned much more than that from each experience. Even when I believed I was wasting time with my supervisors, I found in my own training analysis that, in talking against them, I learned more about myself. All in all, the most important thing I learned can be summed up as an increasing self-awareness and confidence in using myself in the therapeutic situation.

This is not a simple mode of learning; it is a complicated one. It is the synthetic function of pulling together all the previous experiences and attempting to make them a conscious part of my auto-analytic self—a term used by my last supervisor. This mode of learning is highly personalized, reflecting only my own experience and my groping way of going about the process of learning. Someone else would probably go about it in a different manner. I myself believe that the best way is to grope.

To illustrate what I mean, let me refer to my first supervisory experience. At that time, I was a candidate of the Horney group, from which I later transferred to the William Alanson White Institute. My supervisor was a Canadian of Scotch-Irish descent.

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