Group Supervision

Emotional release and empowerment of the interdisciplinary team through art

The interdisciplinary team of the “Galilee” Palliative Care Unit, from the beginning of its function, was supported by supervision performed by a specialized psychologist. In May 2016 Group Supervision through Art Therapy techniques was inaugurated.

Art therapy techniques is based on the power of expression through art, while a special talent for drawing or art in general is not required. It is a projective technique allowing the participants to create, to build and to co-create the image of the world as they experience it. The use of art materials makes possible the creation of an alternative language - the language of image and symbolism.

The process of Art Therapy helps those, who create an image, to understand what their work is standing for. The procedure of creation is also important. The representation or the personification of a problem or a feeling enables a clearer and a deeper understanding of it.

The creative procedure and communication through symbols are two elements of the art therapy process, which can work decisively within the frame of a supervision group consisting of health professionals.

Group Supervision through Art Therapy techniques helps the members of the group to express the difficulties they are facing. The final aim is to create, within the group, a supporting surrounding and a safe frame of confidentiality and freedom. In that way everyone can build a bridge with himself, but also with all the other members, in order to cope with the feeling of loneliness, which usually accompanies the clinical work.

Time is divided between the art activity and verbal communication. Within this frame feeling, perception and understanding are connected and integrated, in order to promote the goal of Supervision through Art Therapy techniques.

The creation of art work within the interdisciplinary team
- enhances professional growth through a deeper understanding of personal concerns and clinical material
- helps to avoid burn out
- facilitates the investigation and understanding of relations between group members
- reconciles the members with feelings of insufficiency by strengthening their confidence
in their role as carers
- enables the investigation of contradictory emotions
- enables the understanding of group dynamics, as well as the understanding of
transference and counter transference in the course of clinical work
- soothes stress and anxiety, thus promoting relaxation and delight
- brings relief from emotional conditions such as fear, anxiety, agony and sorrow, which
may aggravate and complicate the work of professionals
- helps discover a new meaning for the work with the patients and life itself
- improves self-esteem, encourages experimentation and cultivates new skills
- strengthens the sense of security and job satisfaction.

It is important to emphasize that the art product is preserved in time, thus becoming a supervisory tool as well as an archive of “tangible memory”, an archive to be visited and re examined.
Besides the fact that Supervision through Art Therapy techniques does not provide therapy, it does have a therapeutic effect. It promotes personal growth and self-knowledge through improving emotional recognition, patience, understanding and acceptance. These qualities are essential for professional development. The burden of the demanding clinical work is transformed into a challenge.

Supervision through art therapy techniques is essential: It is a kind of moral and emotional purification. It is like a waterfall of clear water, which enables the carer to differentiate him/herself from the trace of the patient’s shadow and to see this shadow in a new light.

Indicative bibliography
• Lahad, M. (2000). Creative Supervision: The Use of Expressive Arts Methods in Supervision and Self-Supervision, Jessica Kingsley Publications, Philadelphia, Pa.
• Schaverien J & Case C., (2007). Supervision of Art Psychotherapy. A theoretical and practical handbook, Routledge


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