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Gustin, J.C. (1958). Supervision in Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Rev., 45C(3):63-72.

(1958). Psychoanalytic Review, 45C(3):63-72

Supervision in Psychotherapy

John C. Gustin

Of all the problems encountered in the training programs of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, one that continues to be of pressing concern to the profession is the role of supervision. In the early days, the small group that gathered around Freud analyzed, trained, taught and supervised each other. It was not until 1922 that the first formal standards for the training of a psychoanalyst were set by the International Psychoanalytic Society. This called for (1) a course of study, (2) a personal analysis, and (3) the treatment of several patients under supervision for a specified period of time. More recently, the Menninger School of Psychiatry, 4 in its research project on the training of psychotherapists, included the use of the One-WayVision-Room technique to overcome some of the problems in supervision. Dr. Lewis Wolberg, 9 Dean of the Post-Graduate Center for Psychotherapy, recommended the use of recorded interviews. But the problem of supervision continues to be one of the most baffling in the training program of an analyst. When Freud wrote, “The dialogue which constitutes the analysis will admit of no audience; the process cannot be demonstrated,” he was describing the unique nature of the psychoanalytic process which differs from almost any other scientific or artistic endeavor. It is perhaps the only activity in which neither the action itself nor the result can be directly observed by another. In this case the supervisor has to depend solely upon the subjective presentation and report of the young analyst who reports upon himself.

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