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Novice Therapist
Supervisory Tools
Parallel Process
Countertransference is a term broadly applied to
the personal reactions of a therapist as a result of
interaction with a client in therapy.
The novice therapist’s sense of self may be bound up
in the need to feel competent as a therapist.
#1 Countertransference Index, developed by
Hayes, Riker & Ingram, (1997)
The novice therapist may feel considerable
discomfort if the reactions to the client threaten this
Measures supervisor’s rating of the extent a
therapist’s behavior in a counseling session
reflect some areas of unresolved conflict.
Occurs when trainee’s supervision presentation is
similar to presentation style of client in treatment
(Friedlander, Siegel & Brenock, 1998)
Countertransference is difficult for the novice
clinician to deal with because it garners an
emotional, if not visceral, internal response.
“The [novice] therapist does not possess the
means of understanding the clients beyond their
own emotionally colored perceptions.
Responses to the client, may be outside
immediate awareness,” (Falender & Shafranske,
2004, p. 84).
Countertransference can be:
Subjective: The therapist’s reactions to the client
originate from the therapist’s own unresolved
conflicts and anxieties which may be harmful to the
therapeutic process if undetected
Objective: The therapist’s reactions to the client
are evoked primarily by the client’s maladaptive
behaviors which can be beneficial to the therapeutic
process (Ligiéro & Gelso, 2002)
Positive: The therapist’s behaviors are detrimental
to the client if the therapist is over-supporting the
client, trying to befriend the client, and/or engaging
in too much self disclosure. Attempts to be “nice”
may damage relationship by serving the therapist’s
needs while avoiding the client’s conflicts.
–Negative: The therapist’s behaviors are negative,
excessively critical, punitive, and/or rejecting of the
client. The therapist defends against uncomfortable
feelings by acting out in ways that minimize
personal discomfort (Friedman & Gelso, 2000).
Contact Information
Diana B. Dobier, Psy.D
Director of Training & Research
Rushville TDF
R.R. #1, Box 6A
Rushville, IL 62681
T: 217.322.3204 x5075
F: 217.322.2122
E: [email protected]
Feelings of failure and/or subsequent anger may
arise from the shame inherent in perceived failures
The novice therapist must recognize that
countertransference will develop with every client
It is essential for the novice therapist to detect,
understand and deal with these uncomfortable
reactions in supervision (Van Wagoner, 2000).
Resistance occurs when the goals of the therapist and
client are not aligned (Tobin & McCurdy, 2006)
Countertransference feelings of the novice therapist
are not necessarily problematic;
However, when the novice therapist avoids
addressing these feelings resistance may occur in
supervision (Crowell, 2007)
Addressing Issues in Supervision
Supervisee: transference with the supervisors can
range from the healthy, positive anticipatory curiosity to
more problematic. Secure attachment idea (Bennett,
“The nature of the transference and corresponding
countertransference responses change and develop
during the course of supervision.” (Wiener, 2007).
Supervisor: be aware of “Always/Never” as a signal
of a countertransference response.
Always ~ trainee always talks about a client’s
sexual problem when presenting problem isn’t sexual
Allows supervisor to help trainees assess
learning process, determine the nature & source
of reaction, and examine the full range of their
reaction to the clients’ issues. (Dubé &
Normandin, 2007).
The supervisor recognizes the parallel process by
comparing the trainee’s report of the client’s behaviors
to trainee’s presentation during supervision (McNeill
& Worthen, 1989; Beckerman, 2002).
“Exploration of parallel processes identifies recurrent
patterns of behavior, which reflect re-enactments of
unfinished business or themes that interfere with the
trainee’s growth process. Next, explore the
countertransference reactions” (Southern, 2007).
#2 Countertransference Factors Inventory ~
Supervisor Responsibilities
Measures Therapist:
Self-insight: awareness of personal feelings,
Self-integration: intact, healthy character
structure and ability to differentiate self from
Anxiety management: possess the internal skill
to control and understand
Empathy: put one's self in the other's shoes
Conceptualizing ability: grasp the client's
dynamics (Gelso & Hayes, 2001)
----------------------------------------------------------------#2(a) “The CFI-R examines relationship between
countertransference management and actual
countertransference behavior.” (Hayes, 2004)
----------------------------------------------------------------#3 The Inventory of Countertransference
Behaviors (Friedman & Gelso, 2000) completed
by supervisors who rate therapist behavior during
session on Likert scale
Never ~ trainee never talks about the client’s sexual
problem when it is presenting problem (Book, 1985)
Three scores are obtained: positive & negative
countertransference behaviors and a total score
Positive Countertransference: trainee less aware
of impact positive behaviors have on the bond they
form with their clients. (Ligiéro & Gelso, 2002)
Negative countertransference behaviors were
negatively related to the quality of the therapist–
client working alliance
When the (client’s) behavior is defensive it tempts the
trainee to use defensive response as an avoidance of
underlying pain and anxiety. Trainee have a limit to
the amount of pain that they can bear (Agass, 2002).
Positive countertransference was not related
to supervisor ratings of working alliance.
Negatively related to the bond component of the
working alliance (Ligiéro & Gelso, 2002)
Parallel Process: The supervisor must look beyond
the material presented by the trainee in supervision
(content) and recognize the similarities of the
experiences in supervision to the trainee’s experience
in treatment (Friedlander, Siegel & Brenock, 1989).
The supervisor must bring these similarities to the
attention of the trainee (McNeill & Worthen, 1989).
In order to understand the dynamics of the case,
supervisor helps trainee resolve blockages that
prevent clear recognition of the client (Crowell, 2007)
The supervisor provides the student with new skills to
use in treatment with the client.
As supervisor intervenes with student ~ the student
will mirror same techniques with the client
(Friedlander, Siegel & Brenock, 1989).
Take Away Points
Failure to recognize/process emotional responses
hampers effectiveness, and negatively influence
client (Agass, 2002).
As professionals, our responsibility is to process our
personal reactions to our clients.
As supervisors, we challenge trainees to work
through their emotional responses to the client.
(Baker 2005)
Parallel process occurs in supervisory & therapeutic
relationship in tandem. The trainees guided by the
supervisor to unmask the countertransference
occurring in both (Falender & Shafranske, 2005).
Agass, D. (2002). Countertransference,
supervision and the reflection process.
Journal of Social Work Practice, 16(2),
Baker, E. K., (2005). Caring for ourselves: A
therapist’s guide to personal and
professional well-being. Washington:
American Psychological Association.
Beckerman, N. (2002). Sexual Assault: A
Supervisor's Perspective on
Countertransference. Clinical Supervisor,
21(2), 99-108.
Bennett, C. (2008). The interface of
attachment, transference, and
countertransference: Implications for the
clinical supervisory relationship. Smith
College Studies in Social Work, 78(2),
Book, H. (1987). The resident's
countertransference: Approaching an
avoided topic. American Journal of
Psychotherapy, 41(4), 555-562.
Crowell, M. (2007). Some Thoughts on the
Countertransference Resistance of the
Psychoanalytic Supervisor. Modern
Psychoanalysis, 32(1), 1-10.
Dubé, J. É & Normandin, L. (2007). Mental
Activity and Referential Activity of
Beginning Therapists: A Construct
Validity Study of the Countertransference
Rating System (CRS). American Journal
of Psychotherapy, 61(4), 351-374.
Falender, C. A. & Shafranske, E.P., (2004).
Clinical supervision: A competency-based
approach. Washington: American
Psychological Association.
Friedlander, M., Siegel, S., & Brenock, K.
(1989). Parallel processes in counseling
and supervision: A case study. Journal of
Counseling Psychology, 36(2), 149-157
Friedman, S., & Gelso, C. (2000). The
Development of the Inventory of
Countertransference Behavior. Journal of
Clinical Psychology, 56(9), 1221-1235
Graff, G. (2008). Shame In Supervision.
Issues in Psychoanalytic Psychology,
30(1), 79-94.
Gelso, C., & Hayes, J. (2001).
Countertransference management.
Psychotherapy: Theory, Research,
Practice, Training, 38(4), 418-422
Hayes, J. (2004). The inner world of the
psychotherapist: a program of research
on countertransference. Psychotherapy
Research, 14(1), 21-36
Ligiéro, D., & Gelso, C. (2002).
Countertransference, attachment, and
the working alliance: The therapist's
contribution. Psychotherapy: Theory,
Research, Practice, Training, 39(1), 3-11.
McNeill, B., & Worthen, V. (1990). Parallel
Process as a Supervisory Tool.
Clinician's Research Digest, 8(1), 1
Southern, S. (2007). Countertransference
and intersubjectivity: Golden
opportunities in clinical supervision.
Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 14(4),
Tobin, D., & McCurdy, K. (2006). AdlerianFocused Supervision for
Countertransference Work with
Counselors-in-Training. Journal of
Individual Psychology, 62(2), 154-167.
Van Wagoner, S. (2000). Anger in group
therapy, countertransference and the
novice group therapist. Journal of
Psychotherapy in Independent Practice,
1(2), 63-75.
Wiener, J. (2007). The analyst's
countertransference when supervising:
friend or foe?. Journal of Analytical
Psychology, 52(1), 51-69.
McNeill, B., & Worthen, V. (1989). The
parallel process in psychotherapy
supervision. Professional Psychology:
Research and Practice, 20(5), 329-333
Contact Information
Diana B. Dobier, Psy D
Director of Training & Research
Rushville TDF
R.R. #1, Box 6A
Rushville, IL 62681
T: 217.322.3204 x5075
F: 217.322.2122
E: [email protected]