About the Supervision Study Program (SSP)

To learn more about the SSP, join us for our Open House on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 6:30-8:00pm.

"It is hard for me to believe how much I have learned the last two years. I came into this program in a career doldrums. I was feeling isolated in my practice and under-stimulated with the work. This program has challenged me and supported my learning throughout. This has been such a gift." -Emily Johnson, LCSW

Since 1986, The Psychotherapy Institute has offered a training program in the theory and practice of supervision. One of the oldest such programs in the nation, it is the only one of its kind in the Bay Area. The program combines readings and didactic instruction with a practicum that includes weekly individual and monthly small-group consultation. Participants enrolled in the program may provide supervision to students in the Institute’s psychodynamic training program, as well as to licensed therapists in the community through the Institute’s professional consultation service.

The mission of the program is to help participants develop a sense of personal authority as teachers within the profession. Supervision is presented as a separate, intimate, and complex process, distinct from psychotherapy and requiring special attention and study.

Participants in training receive individual consultation from senior clinicians who have closely studied and applied the supervision process. Participants also work in a small group with a group consultant, studying the literature and sharing supervisory experiences, to better understand the complex relationships between consultant and supervisor, supervisor and supervisee, and supervisee and patient.

Who should apply?

  • Therapists who wish to learn about supervision, sharpen their teaching skills, or develop a better understanding of the process of teaching psychotherapy
  • Therapists interested in making the passage to a more advanced level of practice as teachers and mentors
  • Therapists in positions of authority who want to become more effective in a leadership role


  • Applicants must be licensed in California to practice independently in a mental health field (for example, psychiatry, social work, psychology, marriage/family therapy, nursing) and have a minimum of two years of post-license clinical experience.
  • Applicants must have the capacity for introspection and self-awareness.
  • Applicants must be supervising or consulting at the time they enter the program. The Selection Committee can suggest supervisory opportunities for program participants who are not already providing supervision or consultation.

A partial list of covered topics:

  • Introduction to relational supervision
  • Differences between supervision and psychotherapy
  • Phases of supervision
  • Supervision and shame
  • Utilizing parallel process, transference, and countertransference
  • Organization parallel processes when supervising in an agency
  • The unconscious and supervision
  • Shame and Cultural Humility 
  • Supervision and trauma 
  • Supervision and the treatment of couples and families
  • Assessing supervisees’ learning and dealing with learning difficulties

To learn more about the SSP, join us for our Open House on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 from 6:30-8:00pm.