Creative Supervision By Giulia Dallas
My route into creative supervision stemmed from my initial training as a drama therapist. Witnessing the huge benefits in using the arts to heal and empower, I became interested in applying creative techniques as a supervisor. I completed a course which equipped me to supervise a wide range of modalities. Although I supervise therapists, I also have supervisees who work in perinatal care, education, and other medical or social based roles. It was important for me to undertake training that enabled me to work outside of therapy, as variety in my work is hugely important and ensures I am always learning. I also want to spread the message that the creative arts can be used to help us in so many ways we might not have thought of before.
As a creative supervisor, as well as offering a space for supervisees to talk, I am able to utilise theatre, role, drama, image, object and art based methods to approach and explore a supervisory question. Various underpinning theories, including the seven-eyed model of Shohet and Hawkins and Moreno’s role theory, ask the supervisor to consider transference and counter-transference in both the therapist/client and therapist/supervisor relationships, as well as the roles of the supervisor.
Role work is a great tool for exploring relationships and gaining different perspectives. It is not about being a ‘good actor’ but about the process and suggested courses of action. In supervision, putting yourself in others shoes can often aid issues around conflict, status and assertiveness.
There are also projective techniques utilising image cards, objects and art. By taking an issue and placing it outside of yourself onto something tangible, it can often become much easier to work with. As with role, it can assist with gaining new perspectives. Possible resolutions can then be safely explored using the method as a container for the work.
This picture illustrates a process using images, in this case to explore a therapist/client relationship. Representing different parts of the supervisory question in pictures is a way of mapping out not only the question but also highlighting possible solutions. By externalizing the internal in this way, it can also assist in making the issue more manageable and less overwhelming. Putting our thoughts into pictures can help in our understanding of what they are about and where they are from, which can ultimately strengthen our relationships with our clients.
This object work offered the supervisee an exploration of the trajectory of their career as they had reached a place of ‘stuckness.’ The objects chosen, as well as their layout and proximity, provide key talking points in relation to the supervisory question.
Although my work is predominantly 1:1 I also have techniques for working with groups with drama based approaches along with adapted, individual methods. The beauty of group work is the extra support and the the commonality it can instill in colleagues; reinforcing working relationships, improving communication and increasing confidence of individuals and the team.
If you would like to find out more about creative supervision, I am happy to talk further at firstname.lastname@example.org