In the earlier parts of this series of blogs about supervision, I have been updating material that was included in articles and books that were published in 2004 and 2007 (Hay, 2004a, 2004b, 2007). Back then I was writing about supervision for coaches and for trainers within organisations; in Blogs 64-66 I adjusted the material so that it would apply to any helping practitioner.
Now I am moving on to later material that I produced that was specifically about how we can conduct supervision online (Hay, 2010, 2011).
Back in 2010, I was writing about e-supervision using Skype – I still use Skype but I also now use Zoom as often there is a better connection in some areas of the world. I am sure there are other similar ways to connect. Whichever is used, using the Internet in this way gives us several advantages:
Because the online services offer conferencing options, it also means that:
In terms of theory related to supervision, in Hay (2010) I referred to the 3Ps – although I incorrectly referencing all of them to Crossman rather than Crossman (1966) for permission and protection and Steiner (1968) for adding potency. I wrote then that:
In Hay (2011) I referred to Goffman’s (1974) material on how frames and the concept of presence can aid an understanding of processes. I wrote that Goffman proposed that “we employ frames or schemata of interpretation that are socially shared and culture specific. Even coaches and supervisors who are unfamiliar with Internet communications will already have frames about telephone interaction and these will include the ‘real’ presence of the parties involved even though they are in different locations. The key is to add frames of reference about supervision to the mix so that we become engrossed in the supervisory process and take for granted the technology and software that allowing [sic] us to connect. When technical problems interrupt connection, we will be forced to shift to frames about the connection process and may need time to get our focus back onto supervision once we are re-connected. Effective use of e-supervision may, therefore, depend on the flexibility of our frame-making.” (p.246).
I also summarised some of the benefits and challenges. Although the lack of face-to-face contact is often stated as the principal challenge to e-supervision, paradoxically is also a significant benefit. “The lack of face-to face contact encourages both supervisee and supervisor to stay in the present rather than experiencing the full impact of transference and/or counter-transference… reinforced because the kinaesthetic connection is being modified or filtered by the technology. The supervisee is less likely to engage in strong emotional reactions or expect the supervisor to take over the problem.….The supervisor is less likely to feel drawn into rescuing (or persecuting or being victimised… less of a pull into a parent-child or co-dependency mode.” (p.242).
The context is also one in which mindfulness can occur more readily. “This ‘practice of being present with the immediate experience of our lives’ (Aggs and Bambling 2010) can be facilitated …..“ (p.242). This means that the supervisee, and the supervisor, are more likely to stay in the here-and-now with each other.
Finally, I pointed out that we may need to change our “channel of communication or lead representational system (Bandler and Grinder 1979). Many of us are accustomed to taking in information predominantly through sight; with fewer people using auditory as their main channel. However, unless we have a physical impairment, we will process both visual and auditory stimuli – plus of course kinaesthetic …… Working electronically means that we will focus much more on what we are hearing, including the words and what they might represent, tone of voice, any hesitations, sighs, laughter, the ‘music behind the words’, and what is not being said .…. if our own representational system is auditory we may function within each supervision session just as we do face-to-face. If our lead system is visual, we may need time and practice to pay more attention to our auditory channel; fortunately our neurology is such that we have the spare brain capacity to set up the necessary new neural pathways. In either case, we can still take in information through our kinaesthetic channel, although some of us will find that this is usually stimulated via our visual or auditory channel and may not serve us as well until we get used to the shift required.” (p.242-243).
Aggs, Cameron & Bambling, (2010) Teaching mindfulness to psychotherapist in clinical practice: the Mindful Therapy Programme Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 10:4 278-286
Bandler, Richard & Grinder John (1979) Frogs into Princes, Moab UT: Real People Press 1979
Crossman, Pat (1966) Permission and Protection Transactional Analysis Bulletin 5:19 152-154
Goffman, Erving (1974) Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience New York: Harper Row
Steiner, Claude (1968) Transactional Analysis as a Treatment Philosophy Transactional Analysis Bulletin 7:27 61-64
Hay, Julie (2004a) Supervision for Coaches Self & Society 32:3 Aug/Sept 34-40
Hay, Julie (2004b) Supervision Train the Trainer, 11
Hay, Julie (2007) Reflective Practice and Supervision for Coaches Maidenhead: Open University Press
Hay, Julie (2010) Skype Supervision Chap 14 in Virtual Coach, Virtual Mentor David Clutterbuck (ed) USA: Information Age Publishing, 233-236
Hay, Julie (2011) E-supervision: application, benefits and considerations Chap 19 in Coaching and Mentoring Supervision Theory and Practice Bachkirova, Tatiana, Jackson P & Clutterbuck, David (eds) Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press 239-248
© 2019 Julie Hay
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