Photo of Alison leading the Working with Group programme in Dublin, May 2019
Working with groups: A two-day programme in Sydney
4th October 2019

Taking supervision into the great outdoors (video)

’Talking together’ is a series of video conversations between Edna Murdoch and me. It’s our regular dialogue space, where we discuss ideas, tap into trends we’re noticing or books we’re reading, and share themes from our client work and the wider field.

Our second conversation is about taking supervision groups out of the rooms where we normally meet, and into the great outdoors (or into public places such as museums or galleries). I’ve been supervising groups in this way as part of my practice for the past year. Edna and I discuss what I’ve learned, and the quality of work that comes from it.

One of the biggest questions I had about taking supervision on location was how we move from a safe, physically contained space, which is what we normally have when we’re working together in a room, to a space which is outdoors and in public?

I discovered that it is possible to co-create the same sense of trust, safety and containment when we’re outside, and it gives each of the participants the freedom and literal space for their imaginations to go ‘whoosh’. It’s so thrilling, because we’re not compressed into four walls with a roof. I’ve been really struck by the potential for change and development when we’re outside.

In the video, Edna responds to my observations with a wonderful insight: ‘There’s almost a relief of being able to let go of the literal, of the models, of our usual, habitual terrain. Anything to do with the imagination and with metaphor, with the whole metaphysical way of looking at ourselves in our work, somehow just gives us so much more scope, and seems so much more rich.’