COMPONENTS OF HOLISTIC LEARNING
By Dave Till and Christine Lines
This is the fourteenth article in our series on Holistic Learning, to read the introduction and view the other components to follow please click here.
The culture of supervision has grown in the community of the Findhorn Foundation over recent years. Each working team or service department has regular sessions, (approx. every 6 – 8 weeks unless required more frequently), with a trained supervisor from the Spiritual and Personal Development team who will help them with any ‘illusions, confusions and collusions’ that might exist within the group.
Having a supervisor (in a similar way to having supervision when you are training as a therapist), is an important aspect of holistic practice that can prevent facilitators from building their own unseen patterns into holistic learning.
Supervision can be scheduled even when there are no particular issues at hand and is a valuable opportunity for team building. I’ve heard people say, “I never look forward to supervision but then afterwards look back and think actually that was really helpful and I quite enjoyed it.”
I changed departments in January of this year and recently sat in my first group supervision with this constellation of people. We’re a diverse group, a mix of part time and full time, residential and non-residential, long term and newer within the community. We discovered that we’d like to get to know each other on a deeper level and made plans to create two days of sharing and group bonding. In just an hour and a half of ‘supervision’, essentially a sharing space that is held in a supportive way, we strengthened our understanding of each other.
Of course in any group there can be mixed experiences and emotions, people may have different pressures or concerns in that moment and it’s important to ideally schedule a time that suits the majority, to help create the most productive time together. If people are distracted, wishing they could focus on another task at hand instead of sitting in a supervision circle, it is less effective than if people can be fully present.
Sometimes there is conflict within a department or between two people and it’s helpful for a neutral person, a ‘supervisor or mediator’, to step in, observe, listen, reflect, and explore options. It can help when one person has a break from the department, it could be a natural time of change, or recognition that moving to another department is healthy and necessary, for personal reasons or due to the needs of the organisation.
A supervisor tends to support a team or department for a few years to build up the relationship and create consistency, later on either the supervisor or the group might expresses that it’s time for a change. In this situation it’s helpful to have a second supervisor present to facilitate and support the process, including giving and receiving feedback. It’s important that everyone has the opportunity to express their needs and opinions, that all voices are heard, and that care and respect is woven in to the experience, especially for the person ‘sitting in the hot seat.’
Ideally another session is planned soon afterwards if necessary, so that all involved have a sense of completion and both the individuals and the team feel supported and strengthened. Sometimes a group project or fun outing can make all the difference and move beyond the mental level into something greater.
Each week we will introduce a new topic. Please feel free to add your views and comments to expand on it more fully.
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