Leeds Beckett University
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The Power of Creative Supervision: Co-Regulating Insight and Practice

posted on 2023-06-27, 13:06 authored by Emma SteadmanEmma Steadman
Within the UK, supervision attendance is mandatory for practising members of counselling and psychotherapy professional bodies. Supervision is a core element of the regulation of the counselling and psychotherapy profession. A significant amount of time and money is invested in supervision attendance. Whilst discourses in the field assign high status to supervision practice, there is a paucity of clarity in existing research regarding aims and impacts. This is amplified within Play Therapy supervision as the literature identifies a significant gap in empirical inquiry in this field. This thesis examines potential meanings and practice implications of play therapists’ experiences of supervision. It includes the perspectives of students, qualified play therapists, supervisors, and supervisors of supervisors (metasupervisors) who work in UK statutory, voluntary, and private sectors. The study involves members of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), Play Therapy United Kingdom (PTUK), and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Constructivist grounded theory method has been used to examine patterns and processes for potential application to the development of Play Therapy supervision in the UK. The main contribution of this study is the creation of a substantive grounded theory which identifies processes and corresponding impacts of Play Therapy supervision in a UK context. Potential meanings for Play Therapy supervision development are identified through analysis of supervisees’ creative representations and interviews. This theory affirms current rhetoric for mandated, regular Play Therapy supervision. However, it also confirms arguments that inadequate and harmful supervision are under-acknowledged and under-addressed. Power relations processes are identified as significant aspects of supervisory relationship facilitating or blocking supervision. The claim that creative exploration within a co-regulated, co-created supervisory milieu and relationship is time- and cost-effective in supervisor wellbeing and professional development is supported. Recognition of these processes has implications for future research and policies regarding supervision and the regulation of Play Therapy. Key Words: supervision, regulation, play therapy supervision, power relations, creative exploration, co-regulated, co-created, metasupervision


Qualification name

  • PhD


Brown, Fraser ; Davies, Sam

Awarding Institution

Leeds Beckett University

Completion Date


Qualification level

  • Doctoral


  • eng


Leeds Beckett University

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