Group Supervision

About Supervision in a Group

Supervision in a group context can be an experience that “lets in more light and air” than individual contexts (Proctor, 2008, p. xvi). It can also seem deceptively simple and straightforward yet benefits from skilful preparation and holding (McMahon, 2014).

Effective supervision in groups is associated with the presence of 3 key factors (Rutter, 2007):

  • The group atmosphere of a co-created, safe and trustworthy container
  • Relationships among group members
  • Opportunities to learn from supervisor and one another

It seems congruent to offer mindfulness-based supervision in a group context since this is the context in which MBSR is offered and the group is often cited as a highly valued component by participants and as one of the key mechanism for creating change. Similarly personal practice and an experiential learning methodology is particular to MBSR teaching and supervision in a group context offers the space for MBSR Teachers to be group members themselves. This offers the means to deepen a personal practice of mindfulness in action, where we may expand experience of teaching through witnessing peers’ experiences, experiencing common humanity as MBSR Teachers and connecting with a community of colleagues.

Blocks of 4 x 90 minute sessions in two-week intervals.  Get in touch to register your interest or request times/dates.
A minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 participants per group.  No new members once the block begins.
Fees, per person, for 4 sessions are dependent on number in the group:
4 people = €180
5 people = €150
6 people = €125

Advantages & Disadvantages

MBSR Teachers may choose supervision in a group context because of the many advantages:

  • Exposure to a broader range of teaching experiences, challenges and participants;
  • a restorative opportunity in an often solo and potentially lonely working life
  • can enhance supervisee openness
  • opportunity to use active, creative methods for the practice of mindfulness in groups
  • direct experience of group dynamics as a participant
  • opportunity for feedback, support, validation and challenge from peers
  • opportunity to participate in group inquiry

Of course, group contexts also come with disadvantages:

  • some people prefer individual learning activities rather than group discussion
  • groups can be anxiety-provoking and inhibit engagement and learning
  • personal needs can overtake a focus on participants and teaching practice
  • there can be pressure to conform with group norms
  • there may not be sufficient time to present and process work from each group member
  • issues addressed may not seem immediately relevant or priority for each group member
  • may be regarded as supplementary only to individual supervision in meeting national network/professional body requirements for supervision

Format

The world of mindfulness-based supervision remains an understudied area at this 0me. Thus, the structure and format that is offered involves an integration of general supervision frameworks and mindfulness-based frameworks that are used in the wider community of practice (Page & Wosket, 2001; Proctor, 2008; Evans et al, 2015; 2018).

Mindfulness-based supervision is a process that holds inquiry at its heart and the process is held in a co- created safe container of mindfulness. The practice of supervision is embodied and experiential and we continue to deepen our awareness and teaching practice by paying attention in a deliberate way, with attitudes of curiosity, open-heartedness and non-judgement.

The framework of the 3 layers of inquiry in mindfulness-based teaching is adopted:

  1. noticing direct experience
  2. relating to noticing direct experience and
  3. integration of any learning arising

Deep listening is also integral to inquiry and the guidelines of Insight Dialogue are held in mind:

  1. Pause – Relax – Open
  2. Trust Emergence
  3. Speak the truth – Listen Deeply

The structure of each supervision session follows a common thread in supervision frameworks of Focus- Inquiry-Review, with an arrival and closing practice bookending each session (Proctor, 2008; Page & Wosket, 2000). Holding the structure, attending to group dynamics and maintaining agreed time frames serves to sustain the learning container of supervision in a group context.

Testimonials

Being with others allows for getting out of one's own headspace and being aware of others' experiences. It allows for connecting by hearing about both the challenges and celebrations of beginning to teach MBSR sessions. It's very helpful for me to feel part of a group and have a sense of belonging...and the group supervision provided that opportunity. There was an opportunity for self-compassion and compassion for others.

AnnaGroup Supervision

Being in this long journey of learning how to teach MBSR, it is essential to take supervision during your first teaching sessions, but having a group supervision gives you such a broad way of understanding that how different situations you need to consider thanks to your peers' experiences, to have chance to think your own way about their particular situation and give and take more advices from the peers in addition you have the chance to observe your supervisors' approach to different and particular situations. To see that your struggles are not your own it is a part of our humanness is very comforting.

JoyGroup Supervision

I found the combination of individual and group supervision very helpful and supportive, partly because I could also ask "technical" questions that only someone with teaching experience can answer. Of course, these questions were only a minor part of the overall experience - in groups I appreciated the deepening of the practice and individual sessions were more about my own stuff.

Hanka(MBSR Supervision)

The group supervision sessions were very supportive for reflecting upon experiences that have come up while teaching mindfulness. Sharing a learning space and being with others who are following the path of teaching MBSR was a rich opportunity for deepening self-awareness and self-compassion. A sense of shared humanity and kindness during our open conversations and dialogue were real gifts. It's a wonderful way to keep alive the learning and connections in the Solterreno community.

MaryGroup Supervision

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