In preparation for some training I’m doing today, I came across an article published by Karen Chicca Enyedy and her colleagues regarding the types of phenomena that hinder effective group supervision for counselors. In analyzing the data, they suggest that group supervision may fail as a result of 5 separate clusters of problems. You will note that these problems exist in any group, whether bible study, therapy group or group supervision.
1. Between-member problems. (e.g., conflict, griping, competition attitudes, story-telling that hinders supervision)
2. Problems with the supervisor. (e.g., lack of focus, being overly critical of others, dominating conversation, lateness, going on tangents, rigidity, not allowing other theoretical perspectives, using supervision for personal issues)
3. Supervisee anxiety (e.g., feeling unsafe, unsure, inability to be transparent)
4. Logistical problems (e.g., room size, supervisor illness)
5. Poor time management (e.g., not being able to bring up cases).
While these problems are not surprising, they provide a good reminder of the ways we can care for each other by all observing the group dynamic and being willing to address personal and interpersonal matters as they come up. Too often we are hesitant and then the dynamics become cemented and difficult to change. While we supervisors must take stock of what we do, acknowledge weaknesses, and avoid defensiveness, students also must take responsibility for communicating their concerns in a timely fashion.
Biblio: Hindering Phenomena in Group Supervision: Implications for Practice. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 34, 312-317.