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Medium 9781855753655

7. Before and beyond words: embodiment and intercultural therapeutic relationships in family therapy

Karnac Books ePub

Rabia Malik and Inga-Britt Krause

Social constructionism has provided a valuable framework for ^^^ a social perspective on science. Its followers have questioned, and even been irreverent of, scientific theory and results. Nevertheless, approaches that are commonly referred to as social constructionist constitute a broad genre (Williams, 2002) rather than a clearly unified body of theory and they may also implicate different theoretical, ethical, and political points of view and possibilities. To some extent this depends on the question of what it is that we consider to be socially constructed. Are we talking about language, texts, meaning, culture, the self, the person, relationships, knowledge, or emotions? And by “social construction” do we mean that any of these entities need not be the way they are, that they are not inevitable in their particular form, or that they are not determined by the nature of things (Hacking, 1999, p. 6)? Alternatively, do we mean that the forms that these entities take are the results of particular shared conventions for making sense and understanding the world? In the one case, we seem to be raising the issue of whether or not “anything goes”. In the other, we seem to suggest that, once up and running, conventions themselves exercise restraint, so that all making-sense must move in a hermeneutic circle (Taylor, 1981) because there is no means of understanding anyone with whom you do not share the same conventions.

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Medium 9781855753655

3. “Alice and Alice not through the looking glass”: therapeutic transparency and the therapeutic and supervisory relationship

Karnac Books ePub

Maeve Malley and Alfred Hurst

Introduction

This chapter addresses the issues raised by working in a particular context, a London-based voluntary sector counselling and therapy agency for lesbians and gay men, and in a particular way—”in-the-room” supervision with all discussion in front of the clients. The experience of working in this way, in this context, made us aware of the effect that it had on us as therapist and supervisor and of how it seemed to be received by the clients seen during the two-year period that we worked together in this way. Some of the issues that it raised, though initially context-specific, were in fact general issues about power, knowledge and disclosure within therapy and about the nature of the therapeutic and the supervisory relationship. We discuss these issues from the angle of vision of the therapist, the supervisor, and what we surmise and were told about the experience of clients.

In-the-room supervision

While “in-the-room” supervision is not a new phenomenon within systemic practice (Gorell Barnes & Campbell, 1982), it is not a common way of working and is distinct from behind the screen supervision and reflecting team practice. This experience was distinct from the latter in that reflecting teams generally focus on the experience of the family, rather than the experience of the therapist, or the therapist with the family, and do not conduct their entire team discussion in front of clients, or confine supervisory input to this context. When we first embarked on this particular way of working we were not sure how it would be for the therapist or the supervisor, or indeed the clients, to confine our discussions about the work to this context. So, initially, it may have been a kind of experiment to see if we could talk about the things that seemed important to talk about, such as the therapist’s approach, or the ways that the clients engaged with therapy and with the therapist, and the supervisory relationship—all in front of the clients.

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Medium 9781855752801

6. Some reflections on process, relationship, and personal development in supervision Comments

Campbell, David; Mason, Barry Karnac Books ePub

Jeff Faris

The term “supervision” is used to cover a broad range of activities, including quality assurance of practice, management of service delivery, and case supervision. The term “clinical supervision” is not that much more specific, as it may refer to case management where the supervisor has clinical responsibility. It could also refer to case consultation as part of a therapist’s ongoing professional development, or it could refer to live supervision of clinical practice as part of clinical training. These activities are not mutually exclusive, and there is a degree of overlap between them. It may be useful to distinguish between these activities, and in this chapter I refer mainly to “supervision” within the context of teaching systemic psychotherapy.

In this chapter, personal development as an aspect of supervision in a psychotherapy training context is the focus for some personal reflections. What follows includes a personal narrative or a version of my own experience of supervision. As much for the sheer narcissistic pleasure of indulging in my own reflections, I have also maintained a personal view in keeping with a typical exercise that may be required of a trainee therapist. Such an exercise would invite a trainee to recall past experience of supervision and reflect upon how this experience influences his or her current perspectives as a practitioner in supervision. If an exercise is considered useful for trainees’ experience, could not a similar exercise be of benefit to a supervisor? As I have a keen interest in getting to grips with process, which proves to be highly elusive, I thought it would be useful to write this chapter on process and supervision as a reflective narrative and find out what the experience would bring forth. I would also find out what I would be willing to record and what I would prefer to keep to myself. The relationship between the personal epistemology embodied in therapists’ practice and the discourses of espoused theory about therapy seems central to this process (Schon, 1983).

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5. The interlocking of therapy and supervision: the Athenian experience from the viewpoint of supervisors and supervisees

Campbell, David; Mason, Barry Karnac Books ePub

Vlassis Tomaras & Valeria Pomini

In their definition of supervision, all systemic therapists would include its interactional aspect. The development of supervision and/or training presupposes the creation of a co-evolving system between supervisors/trainers and supervisees/trainees (Campbell, Draper, & Huffington, 1988). Since the theoretical underpinning of family therapy supervision has been criticized as inadequate (Everett & Koerpel, 1986), some classificatory remarks on the supervision process, in general, could be adopted. Hawkins and Shohet (1989), for instance, have divided all supervisory activities into the therapy system (content, strategies, and therapeutic relationship) and the supervisory system (the therapist’s “transference”, the supervisor’s “countertransference”, and the here-and-now issues between them). It is stressed that patterns pertaining to these two systems are isomorphic (Haley, 1976; Liddle & Schwartz, 1983).

Apart from the conceptual framework of systemic supervision, its implementation embraces various methods and techniques that, to a great extent, depend on: (1) the theoretical orientation of the supervisors and (2) the context in which supervision is delivered. The term “supervision” is often used with different meanings, and for describing different activities in the systemic field. Supervision may denote, for instance, an external consultation to a depleted therapist (White, 1997), where the therapist uses the outsider to externalize his or her inner process (Rober, 1999); or, it may be addressed to a team of professionals/therapists who find themselves in uncertainty or in stressful situations (Shamai, 1998). In addition, supervision can be perceived as embedded in the framework of training (Boscolo, Cecchin, Hoffman, & Perm, 1987; De Bernart & Dobrowolski, 1996).

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Medium 9781855752900

4: Ethnic sameness and difference in family and systemic therapy

Karnac Books ePub

Lennox K. Thomas

The question of same-culture or cross-culture practice in psychotherapy is interesting and has not seriously perplexed British-based therapists, yet it is a timely issue and needs to be debated. It is more likely that American colleagues are better acquainted with the issues because of their social and communal structures, which differ considerably from those in the United Kingdom. The question is not as simple as it first appears; the issues are, among other things, about the degree to which white therapists have an understanding of the internal and systemic effect of racism on black and ethnic-minority peoples, about the power of the majority to define the minority, as well as about the current and prevailing politics that determine the social proximity of black people to white people. If there are barriers between black and white people in our society, then the situation in therapy would reflect this. One of the problems with so-called inter-group relations is the fact that black and white are not perceived as equally different. There is a power hierarchy. The same issues about therapy and power hierarchies could be debated in relation to gender, sexuality, or disability. “Each to their own” therapy is not necessarily better, yet this therapy is the status quo in the United Kingdom. It is the case that overwhelmingly large numbers of white therapists work with white families and individuals. This, coupled with a lack of curiosity, has led to an impoverishment of the profession of psychotherapy. The unquestioning closed loop had been the norm in therapy for a very long time until the pioneering work of family therapist Annie Lau (1984). This paper was ground-breaking work in British family therapy. While issues of culture have, for a long time, been a feature in the clinical papers by African-American writers, references to cultural issues in the British context were to do with culture and social-class structures. The work of Lau (1984), Kareem and Littlewood (1992), and Boyd-Franklin (1989) were welcome voices that annotated practice and the theories on which this depend. The interests of black and white therapists have led to some invigorating questions that are, from time to time, aired at professional conferences designed to address issues around culture and ethnicity. For sustained change to take place, these questions need to be asked in the workplace and, more importantly, at conferences that are not designed with culture or race in mind. In order for the profession to progress, we have to adopt a position that affords greater success to black, mixed, and ethnic-minority families, who are not offered therapeutic help as often as majority white families. Similarly, this group has made few demands on family and systemic therapy, but this might not remain the case for too long.

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