Group supervision is an excellent complement to individual supervision. The group itself becomes the supervisor. Having multiple viewpoints encourages interns to arrive at their own individual understanding and approach. Having a matrix of relationships with peers increases the emotional “temperature” and can lead to more creative and multidimensional insights and approaches. The cases being discussed become clients of the group as a whole and of each member of the group individually. In some way, these clients benefit from the healing gifts of every group member.
In group, I like to hear the needs of all participants in the beginning. Often there are common themes. We try to share the time so all requests are addressed.
Our group conversations must be safe and respectful. This is a precondition to any creative and soulful process and it is my first responsibility as a supervisor: to make sure everyone is safe.
Respecting different approaches
I encourage all of us to use the format: “If this were my client…”
That way our sharing includes taking responsibility while respecting other approaches. The listener is more able to remain open to new ideas without feeling they are told what to do.
Vulnerability and trust
Sharing deeply and honestly can be vulnerable and can be perceived as not so safe. A fine balance is required that is based on trust between us that is built over time.
Beyond that, any thought, insight, idea or question is welcomed. These can help a colleague see things in a new way or bring an opening to a case they find difficult. Writing down our thoughts and questions and presenting them to the group also has many potential benefits to both our personal process and to our growth as clinicians.