f2f or electronic

f2f Supervision …….. electronic media

I have facilitated supervision sessions, for many years now, through the use of electronic media (Wikipedia, 2020). This includes video, audio, online and in some instances email.

My preference is using a secure encrypted video platform for supervision so I may see the supervisee as well as hear.

Quality supervision can be conducted with individuals or groups using electronic media.

There are differences between f2f and other electronic means of communication. We are all used to f2f communication, but if you are of a certain age, you may be a digital immigrant (Mark Prensky, 2001) while younger generations are digital natives! (Born and growing up in the digital age.) Education and training can now be f2f or blended with electronic technology. The digital immigrants are having to learn fast to keep up with, not only the technology but the language of the technology.

We are used to, from birth, watching the person we are communicating with, their facial expressions, their tone of voice, their accents and the manner in which they construct sentences. Their body language, including noticing body movements and tensions are all in our repertoire of f2f communication.

Using video gives us access to some of these means of communicating while telephone reduces, and email further reduces some of those sources of communication.

When supervising using electronic media, we have to change our attitude. If we are nervous or hostile to electronic technology, then we begin to reduce our ability to use the technology for our interests. Our hostility and anxiety will most likely block our openness not only to the technology but to our supervisees and their communications. While if we are open and enquiring to using electronic media, we will be available to notice the supervisees nonverbal communications just as we do in f2f. We are looking for how the supervisee presents from moment to moment in the session as well as the differences of presentation as they discuss each client or issue. Their tone of voice, their sentence construct, the smaller movements in the face which can be seen more clearly on video, the silences, even in email, and their quality and of course exploring the meaning of these signs. The developing relationship between supervisor and supervisee will highlight these differences for us just as in f2f. Parallel process and projective identification still occur but we will only notice these if we are open to the process and communication platform.

The theories of therapeutic practice still apply, we can still ‘pick up’ in our bodies (somatic knowledge) what is happening for the supervisee or client, we can still ‘pick up’ the unconscious communication from supervisee or client.

What is different is our usual ability to recognise these communications. We may have to focus more intently on ourselves as well as on the supervisee, focus on their voices more. When we focus on our supervisee, we become open to what they are communicating, both consciously and unconsciously.


Super.Vision Training offers supervision through the various electronic media platforms, for individuals and groups.

We need to be aware when supervising through electronic media of:

  • Having good reliable communication, either internet or phone service
  • having a place to work where we are uninterrupted, and the discussion can remain confidential
  • Forming and engaging in a contract which supports the use of electronic media and all its implications
  • Agreement about consumption of drink, food, smoking
  • Methods of payment
  • what happens when the technology breaks down etc a backup system?
  • the qualifications and experience of supervisor
  • the suitability of the supervisee for electronic media supervision, and any difficulties which may impact
  • supervisors cultural and diversity experience and ability
  • supervising in another country (3rd world) which may mean adjusting your fees

the benefits of using electronic media to supervise are immense:

  • supervisors are available in all corners of the world and from all orientations
  • supervision can be conducted at a time that suits both parties offering more flexibility
  • holiday times, being off work can all be managed, and supervision continue

So, from my days working with clients who felt unable to attend for f2f sessions, in the pre internet / digital era, using fixed line phones only, to now. I’ve had to learn and adapt, to a world where technology changes so quickly and the client / supervisee has choice about how they access their therapist / supervisor


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