Stagnation in supervision as a result of developmental problems in the middle-aged supervisor

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The subject of supervisors’ development is hardly discussed in the theoretical literature. Supervisors’ developmental problems, as middle-aged people who interact with beginners and younger professionals, is likely to have implications on the supervision. Supervisees who are looking for professional parental figures for support, and to serve as models for identifications and internalizations, can in such cases encounter an atmosphere of stagnation and depression in the supervision. Such experiences can lead to difficulties in the development of supervisees as professionals. Possible causes of a developmentally problematic attitude by supervisors are suggested. Supervisors may feel narcissistically threatened in the encounter with young supervisees, and may feel sharply the losses caused by aging. They may have difficulties in serving as objects for idealization for the supervisees, and they may have problems in integrating the polarities in their self-image, as is typical for middle-aged people. All these causes may lead supervisors to a regressive depressed reaction. A few possible methods for adaptive and creative coping with these problems are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalThe Clinical Supervisor
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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