Parallel Process - April 1994 ERIC Digest EDO-CG-94-15...

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April 1994 EDO-CG-94-15 Parallel Process in Supervision Marie B. Sumerel Introduction The concept of parallel process has its origin in the psychoanalytic concepts of transference and countertrans- ference. The transference occurs when the counselor rec- reates the presenting problem and emotions of the thera- peutic relationship within the supervisory relationship. Countertransference occurs when the supervisor responds to the counselor in the same manner that the counselor responds to the client. Thus, the supervisory interaction replays, or is parallel with, the counseling interaction. Transference and countertransference are covert behaviors. Identifying their occurence requires an acute and on-going awareness of one’s own issues and the events that trigger the issues. But awareness of oneself is only the first step. Using the awareness as an interven- tion in facilitating growth in the counselor, and thus help- ing the client, is the ultimate goal. Types of Parallel Process Originally, parallel process was perceived to begin only as transference, when the counselor acted out the client’s issues in supervision. Searles (1955) made the first reference to parallel process, labeling it a reflection pro- cess. He suggested that “processes at work currently in the relationship between patient and therapist are often reflected in the relationship between therapist and super- visor” (p. 135). Searles believed that the emotion or reflection experienced by the supervisor was the same emotion felt by the counselor in the therapeutic relation- ship. Although Searles recognized that the supervisor’s reactions also might be colored by his/her past, this was not the focus of the reflection process. Several hypotheses exist for why the counselor may exhibit the reflection process. First, the counselor may look inward for similarities between himself/herself and his/her client as a means to develop a therapeutic strat- egy that is appropriate, thus tapping into the same issue as that of the client. Secondly, counselors may overidentify with their clients and be uncertain of how to Wanting the supervisor to feel the same feelings they had experienced with the client, the counselor unconsciously recreates the problem experienced in the therapeutic relationship in an effort to get the supervisor to model appropriate responses or make suggestions for resolution
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Parallel Process - April 1994 ERIC Digest EDO-CG-94-15...

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