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Mud pools in Rotorua, New Zealand


associates (trainees) work in teams of four, developing close (although not necessarily comfortable) working relationships; observing, refl ecting on and enabling each other’s developing practice. During those two days, the atmosphere is intense and exciting as energy levels wax and wane according to how well the learning and therapy is going. T e two clinical supervisors (one working with each team for a year) and our administrator (who is the crucial link with our clients), are very much a part of this relational landscape as are the clinical associates. T e image of the mud pool is useful to me when trying to


describe what it is like supervising a trainee undertaking a live therapy-session with a training team. T e plopping bubbles of mud represent diff erent contextual aspects of the dynamic event that draw my at ention. Occasionally, those contextual aspects may be fairly straight forward, such as realising the session is over-running and the trainee needs to learn to keep to time. Usually, though, there are several potential interconnected levels of context to be considered, simultaneously. At a simplistic level of description, these are the contexts of therapy and training. However, within those headings there are many other contextual frames that intertwine. To use the term ‘levels’ implies some notion of hierarchy; ethically, it could be understood that the therapy context is always the highest context, establishing an important prioritising of concern for the welfare of clients. Yet, this may also be too simplistic a description for what happens in practice. Refl ecting on my practice, I began to wonder what happens


that draws my at ention to any one ‘bubble’ rather than another? T en, on what basis am I choosing to make the decisions I make as to when and how to intervene, and at which layer, or layers of context? T e CMM ‘daisy model’, used by the Pearce Associates


Context February 2012


(1999), off ers a way of beginning to tease apart these diff erent contextual frames, even though it is, in itself, a fairly static visual image (unlike the mud pool) which belies the dynamic nature of the complex communication-matrix that exists within live supervision in a training context. What it does is create a kind of map of the conversational territory from which it is possible to consider diff erent meanings arising from ‘foregrounding’ (Pearce, 2004) diff erent contexts of conversations. Taking what seem like the two main defi ning contexts as


centres for two ‘daisies’, I have at empted to set out in the diagram at least some of the diff erent contextual infl uences that are operating; which might enable me to consider why I am at ending to any one part of the system at any one time, what that might mean, and what to do next. Each daisy petal will itself have many diff erent infl uencing


factors contained within it; for example, the degree of experience of the supervisor, or the variety of potential clients on the waiting list. In addition, diff erent petals are likely to relate directly to each other, not only through the central themes of therapy and training. As you can see, some of the petals have the same title on


both daisies, but have slightly diff erent infl uences. For example, ‘agency contexts’, by which I mean the agencies that the clinical associates are working in whilst training. For the ‘therapy’ daisy, this might allude to the expectations a trainee has on how to work with a family presenting with a particular problem consistent with their agency practices. On the other ‘training’ daisy, the agency might be placing expectations on the trainee about using (or not) their learning from the course. As a supervisor, when I talk with a clinical associate, I am also talking with their experience of their agency.


23


Mud pools and daisies: Using the CMM Daisy to aid decision making in live-training supervision


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