Applying Bowen’s Theory to Intern Supervision
Commenced in January 2007
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Applying Bowen’s Theory to Intern Supervision

Authors: Jeff A. Tysinger, Dawn P. Tysinger


The aim of this paper is to theoretically apply Bowen’s understanding of triangulation and triads to school psychology intern supervision so that it can assist in the conceptualization of the dynamics of intern supervision and provide some key methods to address common issues. The school psychology internship is the capstone experience for the school psychologist in training. It involves three key participants whose relationships will determine the success of the internship.  To understand the potential effect, Bowen’s family systems theory can be applied to the supervision relationship. He describes a way to resolve stress between two people by triangulating or binging in a third person. He applies this to a nuclear family, but school psychology intern supervision requires the marriage of an intern, field supervisor, and university supervisor; thus, setting all up for possible triangulation. The consequences of triangulation can apply to standards and requirements, direct supervision, and intern evaluation. Strategies from family systems theory to decrease the negative impact of supervision triangulation.

Keywords: Family systems theory, intern supervision, triangulation, school psychology.

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