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Parallel Process in Supervision Article Critique

Parallel Process in Supervision


Parallel process, which entails replicating therapeutic relationship in a supervisory relationship, is a common practice among supervisors. In literature, parallel process has received substantial attention, especially with regard to its value as a vibrant and effective intervention.  This paper is a critical appraisal of an article by Morrissey Jean and Tribe Rachel titled Parallel Process in Supervision, published in 2001 in Counselling Psychology Quarterly.

Personal Opinion about the Article

I applaud the manner in which Morrissey and Tribe (2001) handled the topic of parallel process in supervision. The article has a logical flow thoughts starting from the introduction of the topic, theoretical constructs of the topic, exploring the link between supervision and therapy, application of parallel process in practice, looking at a case example and finally drawing conclusions. A strength of the article that has contributed to the logical flow of ideas is the extensive review of literature performed by the authors. In framing their discussion and making conclusions, Morrissey and Tribe (2001) compared various viewpoints presented in literature in every part of the article. Adopting such an approach increases the authority of the article and provides a rational why the topic of parallel process is worth discussing.

Lessons Learnt from the Article

There are a number of lessons learnt from the article. The first lesson relates to how parallel process can be applied in practice. In this regard, for parallel process to be effective, awareness of one’s inner affective and cognitive responses is needed on the part of the supervisor. Similar sentiments have been echoed by Tracey, Bludworth, & Glidden-Tracey, (2012) In this regard, it is imperative for supervisors to learn how to distinguish the normal behavior of the supervisee and their own behavior when influenced by a client. Second, parallel process is best used when it assists the supervisee to have an understanding of what is taking place in the context of the therapeutic relationship. Another vital lesson learnt from the article is that, when using parallel process in supervisory interventions, supervisors have to exercise caution in order to ensure that parallel process enhances instead of hindering supervisees’ learning.

Positive Side of the Article

The aspect of the article is that it acknowledges that some supervisors have rejected the use of parallel process as an effective supervisory intervention owing to resemblance to a psychoanalytic model or its insignificance in fostering learning. Morrissey and Tribe (2001) positioned themselves in the middle of this debate and tried to solve the issue by attempting to understand the issue from the perspective of both the supervisor and supervisee.  It is evident that Morrissey and Tribe refrained from a taking a stance with regard to the effectiveness of parallel process as a supervisory intervention; instead, the authors approach the issue from an objective point of view and critically examine literature together with a case example in order to affirm the value of parallel process in supervisory intervention.

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Pros and Cons

There are a number of pros of the article including the a logical structure, extensive review of literature, tackling the topic from an objective point of view, and the incorporation of a case example to illustrate the value of parallel process. Another pro of the paper relates to the credibility of the authors; Morrissey Jean is a faculty member at the Department of Nursing, Chinese University of Hong Kong whereas Tribe Rachel is a faculty member at the Department of Psychology, University of East London. It is evident that the authors are experts, which affirms the authority and reliability of the article. Despite these strengths, the article has some cons including lacking an empirical research and relying on a single case example; this are likely to cast doubts on the conclusiveness of the assertions made by the authors.

Agreement and Disagreement with the Article

I strongly agree with Morrissey and Tribe’s (2001) concluding remarks that supervisory relationship has a lot to gain from parallel processes. In addition, agree with the assertion that supervisors have to exercise caution when using parallel process in order to make sure that it enhances instead of hindering learning for the supervisees. I also agree with the approaches taken by the authors in exploring the topic, particularly with regard to the use of extensive literature review. Despite these agreements, there are some of points of disagreement, especially with respect to the methodology used in the article. The authors relied on literature review and a case example. Perhaps, the authors could have conducted an empirical study to cement their findings.

The Extent to Which the Article is Opinionated

To small extent, the authors relied on their personal opinions to illustrate their view. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the article is not overly opinionated to compromise its reliability. As a matter of fact, the authors shaped their opinions based on a review of literature. In addition, the fact that the article was published in a peer-reviewed journal implies that passed the criteria for an article to be considered scholarly rather than an opinion editorial article, which are usually published in newspapers and magazines. In addition, the authors adopted an objective view when presenting their discussion.

Conclusiveness of the Article

The authors reached their conclusions based on a review of literature and a case example rather than relying vastly on their opinions. Through a review of literature together with a case example, Morrissey and Tribe (2001) acknowledged parallel process can benefit supervisory intervention. This conclusion was reached a critical review of literature backed by a case example.


The article under consideration has been presented in a logical and scholarly manner, which can affirm the potential importance of parallel process in supervisory intervention. The take home point from the article is that parallel process can enhance supervisory intervention.

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