Supervision and Contributing to the Analytic Culture

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Three dialectical tensions in psychoanalysis are discussed: between scientific and artistic aspects, between development through theoretical writing and individual therapists’ discourses, and between influencing and being influenced by the wider culture. Based on these dialectical tensions, I describe as artwork the supervisee's clinical work that becomes reconstructed in supervision through the supervisee's narrative and parallel processes. From this perspective, the patient and the therapist become the artist and the medium for each other, and the supervisor becomes an art critic who evaluates and maintains a direct dialogue with the artwork. Thus, the supervisor assesses not only the subjective and intersubjective aspects of the supervisee's clinical work, but also its cultural aspect by formulating the cultural influences on this work. More importantly, the supervisor evaluates the potential contribution of the original features of the supervisee's clinical work to the analytic culture and, indirectly, to the wider culture. Notwithstanding internal and external restrictive forces, formulating this potentiality is likely to inspire the supervisee's attempts to influence the analytic discourse from different professional platforms. A supervisee, who feels capable of shaping, albeit slightly, the analytic discourse, is likely to sense agency, autonomy, and creativity, and enliven the therapeutic interactions and the analytic culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-672
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 BPF and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Art Criticism
  • Cultural Discourses
  • Dialectical Tensions
  • Direct Dialogue
  • Supervision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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