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 clinical supervisor. 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!
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.
How I work
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 theories underpin the practical methods, including the seven-eyed model of Shohet and Hawkins and Moreno’s role theory.
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.
Examples of Creative Supervision
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. Externalising the question can also assist in making it more manageable and less overwhelming for the therapist. Putting our thoughts into images can help in our understanding of what they are about and where they are from, which can ultimately strengthen our relationships with our clients.
In this picture, the supervisee has used objects to map out their career trajectory. They were feeling very ‘stuck’ in terms of their career and where it was going. 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. The beauty of group work is the extra support and the the commonality it can instil in colleagues. This can reinforce positive working relationships, improve communication and increase confidence within the team.