Monday, January 19, 2009

Parallel Process

Clinical supervisors call it parallel process. It's the process by which the supervisor models with the supervisee how the supervisee may interact with the client. And, in return the supervisee often re-enacts with the supervisor how the client has acted with the supervisee. This process can be used consciously for learning and teaching purposes if both parties can be aware of it. This kind of interaction is also present for clinicians working with parents and their children. The therapist attempts to model with the parent how the parent might interact with the child. In return, the parent often re-enacts with the therapist how the child is behaving with the parent. If the main tool of attachment parenting is empathy, it is incumbent upon the therapist to use empathy with the parent. If the therapist misses the mark, the parent is likely to have difficulty hitting the mark with the child. Central to these interactions are also the concepts of transference and countertransference. The client transfers to the therapist feelings he or she has about children like joy or frustration. The therapist counters with feelings that can help him or her understand the client if the interaction is managed. It's the therapist's job to know how.