Book Review of Clinical Supervision of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Edited by Jill Savege Scharff. London: Karnac Books, 2014, xvi + 176 pp., $39.95 paperback.


Daniel Jacobs, MD


In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


It is difficult to say anything new about the task of supervision. The same shibboleths find their way into print: supervision is not psychotherapy; empathy with and sensitivity to the supervisee is essential, as is awareness of the tension between the need to supervise and the need to evaluate. Discuss learning goals at the beginning of supervision. Be aware of parallel processes. While such reminders are helpful, they do not go far enough. For reasons of confidentiality, there is often a paucity of in-depth supervisory process reported, Dewald’s book (1987) being a notable exception. Detailed descriptions of trainees’ difficulties in learning are understandably kept out of the literature, lest supervisees or their patients be identified. It is a relief, then, to find several chapters in Jill Savege Scharff’s edited collection that describe in some detail the supervisor’s challenge in trying to reach students whose ability to use supervision seems limited. Carl Bagnini (“Supervision or Thera-Vision? Working with Unconscious Motives in the Supervisory Encounter”) writes of an older experienced supervisee who “wanted reward for talents not achieved” and could not subject herself to being “a clinical supervisee” (p. 51). Scharff (“Supervision in the Learning Matrix”) describes a therapist who was unable to share her emotional responses to the clinical material she presented and was often unaware of the transference implications of her patient’s communications. Ending the collection on a positive note, Scharff tells how over time she successfully helped her supervisee become more aware of her patient’s feelings, as well as her own responses to them, without becoming her therapist. Other contributions include a sensitive and moving account of Elizabeth Thomas’s relationally based research on conflicts between supervisor and supervisee <…>

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 64/2:431-437, April 2016.

Link to Online Publication (fulltext can be downloaded in the library)


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