Topic: Parallel Processing and Isomorphism
Assignment is to write an analysis of the impact of parallel processing, isomorphism, and transference on clinical supervision. Include the affect of these phenomena on both the supervisor and supervisee.
To prepare for the assignment
•Review the “Relationships—Dynamics” segment on the course DVD. Pay particular attention to the instances of parallel processing, isomorphism, and transference in the clinical supervision session.
•Review Chapters 3 and 4 in the course text, Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision and focus on the information related to the supervisory working alliance.
•Review the Morrissey & Tribe (2001) article. Pay particular attention to the case example depicted in the article.
•Consider how this case example illustrates learning opportunities for the supervisor and for the supervisee.
•Think about the telesupervision practicum calls that you have participated in thus far in this course. Try to identify instances of parallel processing, isomorphism, and/or transference in these practicum sessions.
With these thoughts in mind:
Information regarding the subject: Parallel processing is a phenomenon in which the counselor brings characteristics of issues that his or her client is attempting to resolve in session into the supervisory relationship. A parallel process may be best described as the counselor’s “unconscious identification with the client” (McNeill & Worthen, 1989, p. 329). Conversely, isomorphism or reverse parallel processes occur when dynamics of the relationship between the counselor and the supervisor re-surface in the therapeutic work conducted between the counselor and client.
Another phenomenon in clinical supervision is supervisees’ transference-based responses to their supervisor. In cases such as this, the supervisee identifies the supervisor with some significant figure from the supervisee’s life, such as a judgmental parent, or an understanding brother. In addition, supervisors, themselves, may experience transference and countertransference with their supervisees. All of these relationship dynamics can have significant impact on the supervisory relationship.