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No real tale has a beginning or an end … Exploring the relationship between co-supervision, reflective dialogue and psychotherapeutic work with mental health service users

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This paper explores the evolution of a supervisory relationship over a period of two years. This relationship centred on a non-hierarchical way of sharing ideas and views, with the roles of 'supervisee' and 'supervisor' alternating in a flexible way--a way of working which may be described as 'co-supervision'. Through continued conversations between the authors and with colleagues, work together in co-supervision moved towards the development of a Four-Stage Approach to Co-Supervision, which incorporated a reflective silence and a reflective conversation into the co-supervisory meetings. Engagement in co-supervision also modified ideas around evaluation methodology; the authors noticed a gradual shift from initial thoughts around a content analysis of the words and themes of co-supervision to a consideration of personal experiences in a more reflective way, hence this account. Finally, and importantly, the authors found that this evolving process had a positive effect upon psychotherapeutic relationships with mental health service users. In summary, this paper outlines the 'story' of one co-supervision relationship, and it reflects the narrative approach that underpins this work.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Newcastle North Tyneside and Northumberland Mental Health NHS Trust Northumberland UK

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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