Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Promoting resilience in psychotherapy interns through supervision: An integrated literature review
by MacTaggart, JoAnne Kay, Psy.D., Saybrook University, 2014, 106; 3642966
Abstract (Summary)

Psychotherapy interns often report feeling traumatized by the process that attempts to match them with an internship site. Once placed, feeling unsupported in one's supervisory relationship may lead to burnout, which contributes to high rates of attrition. A supportive relationship between supervisors and interns appears significant to the development of their early professional resilience. This integrative literature review asks, "How do therapists at all stages of their career achieve and maintain professional resilience?" and "What is inherent in the supervisory relationship that influences such growth and resilience in interns?"

Literature on psychotherapy supervision, professional trauma, compassion fatigue, and resilience was selected from the psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, and existential-humanistic traditions as well as from relational neuroscience. This literature was integrated in such a way as to define, compare and contrast these concepts.

Psychotherapists report a variety of historic traumas that contribute to their choice of psychotherapy as a profession. Therapists also identify as falling on a dynamic spectrum of resilience, reporting both personal and professional protective and risk factors. Psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, and existential-humanistic training and professional models continue to highlight the value of the supervisory and consultant relationship in support of recovery from professional overwhelm toward lasting personal and professional resilience. Therapists at all stages of their career report achieving and maintaining professional resilience by practicing individualized self-care, engaging in dynamic personal psychotherapy, and through supportive relationships in supervision and consultation. The primary element in the supervisory relationship that promotes growth and resilience in interns is the ability of the empathic supervisor to privilege the supervisee's experience in the supervisory relationship as well as with their mutual clients.

A supervisory model emerged that (a) elevates personal history and awareness of an intern's preexisting risk and protective factors, (b) promotes in-session self-awareness, and (c) draws on existential-humanistic theory, leading to the development of resilience. This model serves to support the humanity of the intern and supervisor as evolving professionals while respecting and perhaps enhancing the orientation of the training site.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rubin, Shawn A.
Commitee: Kessler, Cynthia
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public Health Education, Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Humanistic-existential supervision, Intern attrition, Intern burnout, Professional resilience, Self-disclosure, Supervisory models
Publication Number: 3642966
ISBN: 978-1-321-30169-4
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