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Communication: The Social Matrix of Supervision of Psychotherapy (UMI #9511056)

Dissertation Committee

Professor Robert O. McClintock, Sponsor
Professor Robert P. Taylor

Professor Rene Arcilla, Examiner
Professor Emeritus Maxine Greene, Examiner


This dissertation is organized around detailed study of communication interactions between supervisor and supervisee in psychotherapist training. This particular communication arena is selected for study because of its exceptional communication-theoretical richness.

Psychotherapy supervision consists of conversation in which an expert on interpersonal communication (the supervisor) helps an expert on interpersonal communication in-training (the supervisee) develop his or her interpersonal communication skills. Their talk primarily attends to the supervisee's communicative interactions with patients in therapy, which the supervisee reports to the supervisor. It can also attend to the talk which thus arises between supervisor and supervisee, itself. The dissertation thus explores the study of communication, from the perspective of distinguishing persons' self-examination of their own current communicative interaction, versus their examining external communication situations and events.

The dissertation approaches this task via micro-analysis of verbatim examples of supervisor-supervisee conversations, taken from the literature of theory of supervision. The examples are examined to discover effects of inattention to the ongoing communication interaction. I then offer alternative communicative moves, at key points in the conversations, to show how the interaction could effectively attend to itself. The rescripted interaction is examined to show pedagogical and broader social benefits which can plausibly be anticipated as a result of greater self-reflection in communication.

A specific instance thus is presented of the mundane feasibility of Edmund Husserl's project of the universal transformation of human existence through the infinitely renewed rational reconstruction of all aspects of life -- another formulation of which is expressed in the text of William Ellery Channing's Baltimore Sermon of 1819:

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
which may appeal to persons to try to actualize and further in their own everyday activities, both in the particular pedagogical situation of psychotherapy supervision (with attendant benefits to patients' therapy), and elsewhere. The proposed paradigm, which I call "self-accountable conversation," is elaborated as a critically defensible, existentially meaningful option for individual and social living in the present, often called "post-modern," age.

Go to Abstract (above).
Go to Dissertation Proposal 32k.
Go to Bibliography 45k.

Go to Introduction 50k.
Go to Chapter 1: Theory (Part 1 of 3) 47k.
Go to Chapter 1: Theory (Part 2 of 3) 50k.
Go to Chapter 1: Theory (Part 3 of 3) 42k.
Go to Chapter 2: Description (Part 1 of 3) 52k.
Go to Chapter 2: Description (Part 2 of 3) 45k.
Go to Chapter 2: Description (Part 3 of 3) 45k.
Go to Chapter 3: Examples (Part 1 of 3) 75k.
Go to Chapter 3: Examples (Part 2 of 3) 60k.
Go to Chapter 3: Examples (Part 3 of 3) 46k.
Go to Chapter 4: Conclusions 46k.

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Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
16 Jun 1997

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