Promoting the Supervisee’s Project of Becoming a Therapist

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Beyond studying the influence of the past on the construction of the self, analytic writers have a growing interest in the process and function of visualizing one's self in the future and its impact on becoming who one envisions oneself to be, despite cultural and societal pressures. Existentialists suggest that we struggle to become who we are through our “fundamental project;” that is, the way we “hurl” ourselves into the future as free agents. In this article, I examine the application of these theoretical perceptions to explain the analytic therapist's internal professional developmental processes. I suggest that when supervisors help their supervisees reflect on their implicit fundamental professional projects, they minimize the need to analyze supervisees' countertransferential responses, facilitating the supervisees' construction of the professional self. Furthermore, after learning about a supervisee's envisioned future professional self, the supervisor helps the supervisee either consolidate the fundamental project or replace it when it ceases to express the supervisee's core sense of self-as-therapist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-563
Number of pages27
JournalContemporary Psychoanalysis
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©, William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology and the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society.


  • choices
  • fundamental project
  • future self
  • professional self
  • supervision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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