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Some Reflection on Supervision – by David McKendrick


Interview between James Corden and Lily Allen

Hopefully the above link takes you to an interview between James Corden and Lily Allen and perhaps even more hopefully I can explain why I used it.

In the interview Corden manages to divert Allen away from what she was intending talking about. My guess is it was likely to be quite bland promoting both of them equally. Instead Corden turns it into something far more interesting, he steps out of the role of interviewee for a while and takes over the session. He demonstrates an ability to show emotion and takes a risk in exposing this, Alllen immediately responds, initially she is a bit embarrassed but she is out of her stride, the dynamic has changed and has became something far more interesting. In fact it has became a far more powerful and in some ways more subversive dynamic. It makes for fascinating telly and it helped me think about supervision.
Why? Well because the supervision dynamic is captured in two ways, one of them is power while the other is trust.
In the Corden interview the power lies verey much with Lily Allen, she has the role of the interviewer, it’s her show and she can call the shots. Corden subtely shifts this dynamic, skillfully and with apparent ease and the power transfers to him. It comes aroung through Corden’s willingness to grasp the emotion, his preparedness to go somewhere that has the potential to be unpleasent. In doing so the power shifts to him and for both interviewer and interviewee the dynamic becomes intially uncomfortable but eventaully much more powerful and rewarding.
For supervisee’s there is a lesson here; subverting the process, although risky can have a significant pay off.
My other thought was about trust. As someoene who in a previous job was a supervisor supervision meant much more if there was trust. If you knew the worker was on top of things and had the right values and approaches supervision developed into something else. A professional space where growth could occur, a space where refelction and analysis grew and consequently the relationship between the supervisor and supervisee grew creating a more resilient bond, a more meaningful relationships.
So what of all this. Well put simply perhaps if supervisee’s took some more Cordonesque risks and supervisors began to embrace a greater degree of trust we would have a more dynamic meaningful relationships.
It worked for James and Lilly, it’s worth a try.

David McKendrick @bonklesoul is a social work lecturer. Here is a link to David’s blog.

Join our debate @SWSCmedia on “Supervision, its’ concept, content and context” on 15 November, at 8:00 to 9:00 PM (London) 3:00 to 4:00 PM (New York).

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