The Art of Relational Supervision : Clinical Implications of the Use of Self in Group Supervision book cover
1st Edition

The Art of Relational Supervision
Clinical Implications of the Use of Self in Group Supervision

Edited By


ISBN 9781315727882
Published September 16, 2015 by Routledge
178 Pages

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Book Description

The Art of Relational Supervision demonstrates the clinical implications of the relational approach when applied to supervision. Describing her philosophical and theoretical rationale for setting up relational supervision groups, Helena Hargaden’s goal in supervision is to reveal the relational unconscious within the client/therapist relationship. Here, with chapters from members of these groups, the vitality of supervision is brought to life as the clinical implications of the therapist's internal world are highlighted by group members. The complexity of group dynamics are explored and psychotherapists show how this positively affects their work with clients and patients.

  • The main themes examined in the book are the:
  • Bi-directionality of the relational unconscious
  • Ubiquity of therapeutic enactments and ruptures
  • Intuitive use of improvisation
  • Co-creation of the intersubjective third – the analytic third
  • Focus on mutuality and reciprocity

Filled with case study examples, readers of The Art of Relational Supervision will gain a deep insight into the complex dynamics which form an integral part of any supervision and discover how, this type of relational approach strengthens the therapeutic relationship to bring about significant psychological change for the client. It will be an invaluable resource for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists. 

Table of Contents

About the contributors


Charlotte Sills



Helena Hargaden

Chapter One: A Relational Approach to Supervision

Helena Hargaden

Chapter Two: The dialectical interplay between modes of relatedness in relational


Brian Fenton

Chapter Three: Relational Supervision – A two-person approach

Heather Fowlie

Chapter Four: Take this to therapy?

Birgitta Heiller

Chapter Five: Daring to be seen in the struggle to bring my self into relationship

Gina Sweeting

Chapter Six: Through the glass darkly: how Alice finds herself in the eye of the

tempest’s storm, and emerges into a place of mirrored reflection

Jane Todd

Chapter Seven: Beyond Thinking

Marion Umney

Chapter Eight: Shame

Helena Hargaden

Chapter Nine: Analysis of My Experience in starting and developing relational supervision groups



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Helena Hargaden, DPsych, MSc, BA (Hons), TSTA (Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst), is UKCP registered and a member of IARPP, EATA, and a co-founder of International Association of Relational Analysis. She has a private practice in West Sussex. In collaboration with others she began the relational developments in transactional analysis. She has been widely published and translated into a number of other languages.


"A supervision approach that emphasises the finding of the client in the therapist is a great contribution to Relational psychotherapy and to supervision generally. The rich contributions in this book invite a deep level of reflective practice for all psychotherapists and supervisors" - Adrienne Lee TSTA (P), Director of The Berne Institute

"Inspiring, original and practical. This could transform how we think of supervision, whether in training settings or for qualified people. Against a background of a superb critical appreciation of what ‘relational’ means – sharp and fascinating in itself - the book tells it like it is in group supervision. The new model for supervision shows how working on realistic levels of mutual openness, on personal imaginative expressiveness, and on the development of a grounded ethical sensibility aid the development of those same qualities in therapy work."- Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex 

"I am delighted to offer an endorsement for this book. It certainly fulfils its aim of describing a relational approach to supervision – indeed, I think it achieves more than this in expanding this approach in this field. Although there are many gems to be found throughout the book and in the varied voices of the various contributors, there are two specific features that make this a significant contribution to the literature on supervision. The first is that it is informed by both humanistic and psychodynamic thinking, which the editor and principal contributor, Helena Hargaden, weaves together with great skill and useful application. The second is that the book places experiential learning at the heart of the approach to supervision presented – from the initial supervision groups facilitated by the editor and the colleagues she supervised through to much of the content, including an important chapter on shame which, of course, affects practitioners’ ability to disclose their practice and to reflect in supervision. The different experiences of the reflective practitioner – and a highly reflective supervisor – have also led to a creative structure for the book in which Hargaden offers four chapters that form bookends to six chapters from practitioners she has supervised. Finally – and most importantly – it is well-written and enjoyable to read; I commend the editor and contributors on an excellent volume, and highly recommend it to practitioners." - Keith Tudor, Associate Professor, Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa New Zealand

"In this candid and fascinating exploration of a relational approach to supervision, the reader is invited into a creative group process, as each contributor shares their personal struggles, vulnerabilities and reflective insights along with case vignettes. The form of the book reflects the lively relational process it describes, encouraging us to draw inspiration from many voices rather than presenting a definitive approach. Hargaden’s personal zest for experimenting with ideas in action shines throughout this innovative project. This book will be of value to any practitioner in the mental health field, wanting to extend themselves and their practice as supervisors or supervisees." - Jo Stuthridge MSc, transactional analyst, supervisor, trainer and co-editor of the Transactional Analysis Journal