Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2003


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Martin Packer

Committee Member

Daniel Burston

Committee Member

Bertram Cohler

Committee Member

Roger Brooke


critical theory, Melanie Klein, object relations, post-structuralism, psychotherapy research, qualitative


Clinical supervision is required for every graduate student pursuing a clinical track in psychology. Yet empirical research has focused almost exclusively on identifying efficacious supervision techniques in terms of altering "trainee characteristics" rather than investigating in depth the effects of supervision as changes in the characteristics of the trainee's communicative behavior. Moreover, the question of how the specialized communicative behavior practiced by the trainee works to facilitate change for the client/patient has not been addressed by quantitative empirical studies of supervision or psychotherapy process. This study addresses these problems by asking: (1) What characterizes the author's specialized communicative competence after two years of supervision in contemporary Kleinian psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy, and (2) How does this communicative competence facilitate subject-forming processes with emancipatory potential? Through answering these questions, a case study of contemporary Kleinian psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy (CKPP) is presented that describes some of the history of this approach, explains some of its major concepts, demonstrates some of its techniques, and articulates its distinct communicative features from the perspective of the author as a participant-researcher. A hermeneutic case study method is explained and employed to analyze the verbatim process notes written during one psychotherapy session with one patient under the supervision of a contemporary Kleinian psychoanalytic psychologist. Drawing on Habermas' theory of communicative competence, Conversation Analysis, methodological hermeneutic and critical hermeneutic theory as expounded by Kögler, nine characteristics of CKPP are articulated and shown to meet the criteria of a critical hermeneutics. As a critical hermeneutic "language game" CKPP facilitates the (re)formation of the subject by discursively subjecting the client/patient to a continuous displacement of longing in the face of the Other's difference. In Habermas' and Kögler's terms, it is a productive dialogue of asymmetrical power and dependence where knowledge about the self becomes knowledge for the self through the alterity of the Other by means of the experience of a difference in a relational repetition. Finally, this subject (re)forming work of CKPP is examined and discussed in terms of the "paradox of subjection" as argued by the post-structuralist writings of Judith Butler.