General Description of Supervision Relations
Supervision is an asymmetric relation (like relations of benefit) in which one partner, the supervisor, is in a more powerful position psychologically than the other, the supervisee. This is due to the correlation of partners' functions, which allows the supervisor to put more psychological pressure on the supervisee through his leading function than vice versa. Typically, the supervisee feels somewhat wary or careful about his words when approaching a supervisor. This innate wariness can develop into a full-fledged supervision "syndrome" if given the right conditions, or it can remain at a manageable level if neither person is in a position of power over the other, and partners do not overstep the natural bounds of the relationship.
Common ground between supervision partners is usually attained by the supervisor resonating with the leading function of the supervisee (which is his creative function). The attitudes expressed as absolute values by the supervisee are worthwhile to the supervisor, but are seen as a by-product of more important pursuits. Common ground can also be reached through the suggestive function of the supervisee, which is the valued mobilizing function of the supervisor. However, both are weak in this area and tend to only discuss their pursuits rather than actually doing them together.
The supervisor is usually interested in what the supervisee does and says, but at the same time feels like it is often in need of modification or reformulation from the point of view of his leading function. Because this reframing of issues corresponds to their vulnerable function, the supervisee may often feel frustrated with the supervisor's statements. If the supervisee begins to argue with the supervisor, the differences of viewpoint may quickly become more personal when the supervisor points out perceived 'flaws' in the supervisee's thinking style or way of doing things. Such comments are usually not intended to be damning criticism from the supervisor's point of view, but may well be interpreted as such by the supervisee, due to the inherent sensitivity of the vulnerable function. If they live together, the supervisee may find he can never live up to the supervisor's expectations or achieve his genuine appreciation. For a working relationship or friendship to work, the supervisor must exercise discipline and avoid commenting on the supervisee's weak points as he sees them.
Though the supervisee's discomfort can become quite intense, it is often not evident at first glance. He will usually only talk about it with closer friends, finding it difficult to express to the supervisor without sounding childish. To the supervisor it will appear that the supervisee is overreacting. In the romantic sphere, the supervisor often finds the supervisee's use of his demonstrative function alluring, but will ultimately be unsatisfied with its sporadic nature. The supervisee in turn sees the supervisor as an admirable but somewhat bewildering persona.