Intervision group, towards articulating what is possible

On the second Tuesday of every month, we work on the projects that each of the participants share

It is a common experience for a professional who is faced with a project to request a reflection with other colleagues. This confrontation can take two forms: supervision and intervision. When we speak of supervision, we generally refer to a relationship between two professionals, one of whom is more experienced, who reflect together on the work of the less experienced. Intervision, on the other hand, implies a context in which several professionals with an equivalent level of preparation reflect on their practice and support each other in improving their skills. And it offers the opportunity to learn from those with a different experience and orientation from the case presenter.

"The multiple and intense encounters with other strangers, objects of different drive investments, emotions, affects and representations, produce an internal and reciprocal co-excitation, which intertwine in a complex interplay of projections and cross-identifications"           (Kaes, 1996). (Kaes, 1996)

The objectives of the intervision group

In this process, the team is supported by a coordinator who identifies appropriate tools and trains the team in their use.

Theoretical premise

The possibility of being a container for reflection, on the one hand, and the desire to belong to a project, on the other, are two guarantees of a good way of operating.

Looking to the future, there is a desire to "transport" the experience and skills acquired. We had a good internal experience by turning the "dream", a light-hearted reverie, into a project idea. The intention is to open up a dialogue and discussion about possible new perspectives. 

The motivation behind the birth of the intervision group is the desire to create a container and a network of professionals, to rediscover a sense of belonging and to promote ecolaboration*.  What emerges is the perception of a culture in which what is immediate is good; in this context, the isolated professional who does not have a moment of meta-reflection on his or her own practice risks both corrupting the approach and adhering to the "marketing" of the web. There is an obvious danger of slipping into trivialisation or collusion with the demand for a quick and painless solution.

According to Kaës (2008), the group as a shared psychic space allows the birth of metapsychic formations that produce effects in the psychic life of the subjects that inhabit it. From this perspective, the intervision group is established as a necessary space to share the dynamics of the respective work contexts, to support individual professionals in the process of "taking care" of their own projects and contexts.

In addition, the long-term aim of the group is to identify emerging needs in order to develop appropriate responses over time, moving from thinking to creative action.

The method

In the initial meetings, the professionals are invited to discuss their professional backgrounds, working environments and working practices in order to get to know each other. Through this exchange, it is possible to learn new information and to envisage potential areas of collaboration.

References and data on the group members are collected in a shared database. This first action was practical in order to "remember" the colleagues in the meeting. The group is used as a processing space and the meetings are also scheduled on a regular monthly basis, which reflects the professional needs of the participants.  Intervision can be used as a technique to facilitate getting to know each other and forming groups, both on project cases and on institutional issues.

Meetings are held online, and quarterly face-to-face meetings are planned for socialising and exchanging experiences, just as the pioneers of 'grupalismo' did long ago.

The structure of the working approach is as follows

Aspects of the intervision process

Pichon Rivier states that the group must face the epistemological obstacle in order to better define its task: <<that which stands between the subject and the object of knowledge [...] and which acts in the subject, whether individual or group, as a massive defence system.>> (Pichon Riviér, 1971)

The definition of the dispositive and the tools help the group to define itself and to face the obstacles that sometimes (physiologically) stand in the way of its development. It also provides a basis for future reflection. By highlighting the common language and points of contact between the members, the work brings out the desire to belong. This aspect is sometimes powerful, overcoming the initial fear of judgement. Those who enter the group must be able to see that it is not all life or death, victory or loss, but that there is also a combination of the two polarities; the group will also be able to accept the idea of a 'work in progress', which will help to overcome initial fears.

The work of the group allows practitioners to use the reflections that emerge in their own work, opening up new design perspectives. Keeping the history of each context in mind also means considering the difficulties of the past in relation to membership. The oscillation between fatigue and aspiration, an ambivalence that is also reflected in the creation of the intervision group. Recognising the work in progress and the evolutionary potential of the group, PL takes responsibility for the growth of the group as far as he is able. Some members of the group also choose to remain in a fertile and fruitful relationship with this association, opening a dialogue necessary for joint development.

Another important factor is the arrival of a new colleague; this allows us to rethink our own goals and to understand more clearly that the two given tasks of intervision and project design are not in opposition to each other, but have the same purpose: to facilitate a culture of design.

This integration between the two tasks is well illustrated by the presentation of an educational community activation project - 2023 Ecosocial Workshop Cycle - by a colleague who was trying to bring an eco-systemic culture into her own institutional context.

Looking back at the projects that emerged, they all raise the question of how to translate the inquiry without losing sight of one's own "culture", how to reactivate a thought where it has been "interrupted". It becomes clearer that the need of the group participants is not so much to be recognised as professionals, but to find a common language and to legitimise it where it is perceived as distant and foreign. This may seem like a grandiose goal, but in fact it reflects the group's need to get to know each other better, to understand each other and thus to form a network.

The need to recognise oneself in particular threads and practices is the first step that the intervision group has to take internally, a necessary and preliminary condition for any task. In fact, all the members of the group have the peculiarity of having multiple and different languages and ways of thinking.

The coexistence of differences is a step that requires special attention and care, also because each one has his or her own specific work and formation processes. One of the open questions is "Which differences are perceived as enriching and which as too distant positions?

The process of building mutual trust is an evolutionary one.

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POC: Luna Villalba | Phone/Telegram/Whatsapp +39 334 206 6723