Editor’s Letter and Introduction to Volume 7 – The Supervision Issue

Editor’s Letter and Introduction to Volume 7 – The Supervision Issue

By Gil Tunnell, PhD

 It is with much pleasure and great excitement I introduce this issue of Transformance.  It is devoted entirely to supervision in AEDP and celebrates the publication of the book, Supervision Essentials for Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (2017) by Natasha Prenn and Diana Fosha.   We are grateful to the publisher, the American Psychological Association, for granting us permission to print Chapter Two in its entirety.  The book is a companion to Diana Fosha’s DVD, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) Supervision, available also from APA.

In addition to Chapter Two (Essential Skills), this issue contains articles on AEDP supervision by Karen Kranz, Richard Harrison, and Molly Morgan, all of whom are Approved AEDP Supervisors.

Karen Kranz provides a fascinating account of how a supervisee came to see, with the help of her supervisor, what was blocking her client was what was blocking herself.  In the next session with the patient, the supervisee’s courage to be spontaneous and suddenly self-disclose her worry for the client leads to the client resonating and weeping.  As many of us in learning AEDP probably said at some point, the supervisee said she wasn’t sure what to do next because she’d never done this before!

Yet she follows through, metaprocessing the wonderful breakthrough for the client (and for herself).  The supervisee’s excitement about her own experiential learning, as well as the supervisor’s excitement about her learning, comes alive in these transcripts.

Richard Harrison sees supervision as a process of discovery via the Socratic method, which his transcripts illustrate beautifully.  Like Kranz, he makes the point that although AEDP supervision follows the foundational concepts of AEDP therapy, supervision and therapy are distinctly different.  AEDP supervision is about professional transformation; AEDP therapy is about personal transformation.  Although a bit of personal transformation may occur in the supervisory process, it is not the primary focus. In that vein, Harrison explicates that affect in supervision is not treated the same way as affect in therapy, where it is deepened.  Harrison argues for the balancing of the supervisee’s (a) learning the model didactically (a left-brain operation), and (b) experiencing the model (a right-brain operation).  In that balancing act, he notes that supervision should be dyad-specific:  Some supervisees need more help with right-brain experiencing, while others need left-brain understanding.  Although AEDP accentuates the positive in our patients and in our supervisees, Harrison writes, “I want to be a truth talker who doesn’t pussyfoot around a problem by only addressing the positive.”

While all four authors – Prenn, Fosha, Kranz and Harrison – often make similar points, they use different language with different “slants.”  The intended audience of Prenn, Fosha, Kranz and Harrison is primarily AEDP supervisors.  In contrast, Molly Morgan speaks directly to new supervisees. Her article is shorter, written in the first person, and in a folksy style.  Morgan gives hands-on, down-to-earth advice to new supervisees.  I love Morgan’s sentence:   AEDP is fundamentally and theoretically grounded in being imperfectly human.”  Here she makes her own original phrasing of a truth espoused by AEDP, which also echoes Harry Stack Sullivan’s famous quote a century ago, “All of us are much more human than otherwise.”

This issue has been a particularly fascinating one for me to edit.  I think the rephrasing or recasting of similar concepts by all five authors is not only interesting, it is elucidatory:  If you don’t grasp the concept one way, you will undoubtedly find another author putting it differently.

Finally, we will have a Transformance Talk on supervision the evening of September 12, 2017.  I will moderate a discussion with Natasha and several panelists.  The theme of the talk will be ​“Rigor Without Shame: How AEDP Maps, Schemas and Interventions Protect Supervisor and Supervisee from Shame.”  “See you” there.  Stay tuned for further details.

I trust you will enjoy this very special issue of Transformance: The AEDP Journal.