We have heard the story of an accreditation team's site visit to a family therapy program where the team expressed surprise at the high percentage of individual supervision provided to the therapists. There was a sense that they were displeased. The faculty members were taken aback by that. The faculty had always taken pride in the individual attention each student in their program received. They considered individual supervision, whether it was live or face-to-face using videotape and case presentation, as an expression of that personal care. They believed that the intensity and intimacy of individual tutorials was the way to go and that group supervision was something to be used for reasons of economy and convenience.
Ironically, this family therapy faculty recognized that group therapy and individual therapy are both valuable treatment methods with unique things to offer. Moreover, although individual family members were often seen in the campus clinic, whole family systems were preferred. Somehow there was a disconnection between how the faculty viewed treatment processes and training.
In this chapter, we want you to consider the unique contributions and the relative strengths and concerns of individual and group supervision formats. We also want you to consider the best ways to blend each method in your supervision and, if relevant, in your training program. We will also briefly discuss reflecting teams as a special case of group supervision.
Take a minute to close your eyes and picture a one-on-one, face-to-face session with a favorite supervisor. Can you articulate what it was about that experience