These groups have been running for the last few years (since 2012), and there is a consistent core of participants in all three groups, but occasionally places become available - contact Michael if you are interested, to see whether any possibilities are on the horizon.
The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.
Different Group Formats
The different groups tend to evolve different formats, according to the needs of participants. Some groups prefer a strict rotation and allocation of supervision time for each participant; others want to allow a more free-flowing, exploratory process, which hopefully balances out over the course of the year. In some groups the focus is predominantly on the exploration of client-therapist dynamics and issues; in others there is more of a mixture between this and discussion of more general or theoretical topics. There is also a variety of group cultures in terms of the therapists’ disclosure of their own issues and how much we attend to the group dynamic within the group itself.
Michael’s Supervision Style
Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process' for the purposes of supervision, as well as using it as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay of the client-therapist interaction, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.
He will focus on speaking and conducting the supervision within the language and orientation of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions.
Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.
The leaflet for the Bristol Supervision Groups gives a more detailed description.
There is also a 2011 hand-out with a condensed description: What do I pay attention to in supervision?