We encourage trainees to be aware of their character; who they are, and what they bring to the clinical process. For this reason, all aspects of the program allow trainees to explore transference and countertransference issues in depth. Trainees often come to see how their own internal struggles affect their professional development, and they are encouraged to carry such awareness into their own therapies.
The didactic aspect of the program provides a cognitive underpinning for the acquisition of new clinical skills. Trainees often experience the program as intense, sometimes difficult, but usually rewarding, and leading to significant professional growth.
Trainees are also encouraged to take courses or participate in clinical workshops as an adjunct to their training at the Center. Such efforts expand their learning and enhance their understanding of what is being taught in the program.
Our supervision makes use of process notes and recorded sessions. It includes didactic teaching and, in keeping with an intersubjective approach to psychotherapy, makes use of parallel process. This allows for direct, in-the-room work on the dynamics affecting the client-therapist relationship and the therapeutic process. Interns have a primary and auxiliary supervisor, each providing one hour of individual supervision per week. Interns are exposed to a number of supervisors during the two-year program — two primary supervisors, each for one year, and four auxiliary supervisors, each for six months. This enables them to experience how the basic tenants of process work and dynamic psychotherapy transcend individual styles.
As might be expected, the exact nature of the supervision varies between supervisors. Some present a stronger theoretical framework and are good at helping the trainees develop a cognitive understanding of their clients. Others are good at identifying those beliefs or emotional issues which are blocking the therapy. However, trainees are always treated as competent professionals and are encouraged to bring into supervision the issues that are important to them.
All interns participate in a general administrative meeting which addresses both the current issues related to the operation of the Saturday Center and of operating a private psychotherapy practice. Topics vary from month to month include the following: The Suicidal Client, The Intake Process, Appropriateness of a Client in a Private Practice Setting, HIPAA and other Legal and Ethical Issues of Practice, Third-Party Billing, Practice Building, Frame and Boundaries, Self-Care, Bookkeeping and Notes Keeping.
All interns participate in a Didactic-Reading-Clinical Issues Group. The topics covered in this group vary from year to year. Theoretical, practical or professional issues, as well as the process or art of doing psychotherapy are explored. Two- to six-week seminars cover the area of listening, object relations from an intersubjective point of view, resistance, transference and countertransference, including topics like: Active Listening, Tracking & Engaging in the Present Moment, Frame and Boundaries, Conducting an Intake, Setting and Raising Fees, Sociality, Overview of Psychodynamic Defenses, Transference, Counter-Transference, Interpreting from a Relational Perspective, Therapist’ Collusion, Symbolic Communications, Couples Work, and Group Therapy.
All interns participate in the Case Conference Group. Trainees present cases on a rotational basis. The task of this group is to focus on the presenter’s work with his or her client. Theory, diagnosis, technique, transference, countertransference, and parallel process are considered. The presenter is expected to formulate a coherent case presentation, focusing on the treatment impasse and factors relevant to it. The other trainees are expected to engage the presenter around his or her work with the client and around relevant clinical issues. The supervisor assists the presenter and the group in focusing on the client and the therapeutic dyad. This often
All interns participate in a Process Group in which small-group dynamics are learned through an experimental format. Of particular interest is the response of the group to leadership and authority. This is of critical importance for the trainee’s development as responsible and effective clinicians who are able to contain and not misuse the authority inherent in the psychotherapist’s role. The leader routinely makes process observations.