A place for universal learning: group supervision


This post was first published in August 2021 on the Mindfulness Network blog

 In the Mindfulness Network, several supervisors have come together to offer group supervision. In this blog, we wish to orient you to why you might choose to have group supervision and how to make arrangements. We are not preferencing group or individual, our intention is to highlight some of the potentials that might arise from a group setting. A mindfulness-based supervision group has the same mindful foundation of embodied presence and keeps inquiry at the heart of the process.
As a mindfulness-based teacher, you may have different forms and combinations of supervision over time. In the mix will be individual supervision (with one supervisor or a range of supervisors for different aspects of your work) and it may also include some periods of time in a group.

So why choose a group?
A simple answer might be that you like being in a group setting; you find you are drawn to being with others to learn. So, in more detail what might be some of the opportunities that a group offers, especially around universal learning:
• Time to listen to others
• Opening to a range of perspectives, styles, experiences
• Time to reflect collectively
• Opportunity to reveal and show your teaching to a group
• Opportunity to receive feedback from a number of teachers
• A live opportunity to experience and learn about group process and dynamics, which forms an important aspect of teaching a mindfulness-based course
• There may be less shared blind spots
• See the places where there are similar reactions/responses, even when we thought we might have been the only one

“I can remember the relief of hearing how my fellow MBCT teachers also felt exhausted after session 4 – not just me! I remember feeling enlivened and inspired on many occasions e.g. finding a different way of doing something, a shared moment of practice, the companionship of my fellow travellers and the growing trust to show my teaching to others and receive feedback.”
a few reflections on the highlights of group supervision from my experience

So why choose individual supervision?
This is likely to be the way that most teachers receive their supervision, for many reasons, with a few highlighted here:
• The time is dedicated entirely to you and your needs – many of us don’t receive this so often as we give out to others
• Over time, as trust develops a unique relationship forms
• With growing trust there is space to open more deeply to one’s vulnerability as a teacher
• There is more time for individual inquiry – to unpack, reveal, ask questions
• Groups do not always feel safe places

“ I appreciate the space to go deeply into the layers of experience. To have time and space to ‘not know’ and inquire together. To move right into the nuances of teaching. To have a trusting and safe relationship with someone who has got my back.”
a few reflections on the highlights of my experience of one to one supervision

I am interested in group supervision, so how do I find out more?
You can read more about the supervisors offering group supervision on the Mindfulness Network website. You can express an interest in finding out more by emailing supervision@mindfulness-network.org

I will be facilitating a supra-vision group in April – July 2022 and my colleague Pamela Duckerin is facilitating a supra-vision group January – April 2022.

Alison Evans