Monday, April 11, 2022


 The Art of Self-Supervision

Studying the link between self-reflection and self-care

by Laurie Ponsford-Hill


GENRE: Self-help, Non-fiction



At last, the field of relational therapy has a technique for the art of self-supervision. Everyone agrees that supervision is essential, however the ultimate goal of supervision is to provide a tool beyond supervision for self-supervision. This book captures the primary ingredients of self-supervision and proves the link between self-reflection and self-care. No matter where you are on your journey as a professional, The Art of Self-Supervision: Studying the link between self-reflection and self-care will lead you to a process to tune into your own expert guidance and a greater capacity to help yourself.


EXCERPT (Exclusive Excerpt):

I began the exploration of self-portraiture and its implications while obtaining a Fine Art undergraduate degree, and later when attending the advanced degree program at the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute. I was interested in learning how to surface meaning about identity through self-portraits. My journey began by exploring photographers who specifically examined the use of self-portraiture, such as Arnulf Rainer and Cindy Sherman. Arnulf Rainer drew over photographs of himself to reflect psychological states on a “drive to self-transcendence through self-abnegation” (Hoy, 1987, p. 73). Cindy Sherman photographed her multiple self, depicting her self-portraits as “archetypes active within contemporary culture” (Hoy, 1987, p. 91). Th e depiction of various psychological states within the self-portrait appealed to my interest in pursuing art therapy. Subsequently, I was particularly influenced by Natalie Rogers who was electronically interviewed by Tony Merry (1997), a psychology professor at the University of East London. Natalie Rogers, the daughter of the founder of client-centred therapy, Carl Rogers, discussed her own life journey, noting that writing about her life is part of her own therapy. She observed that writing about herself led to her decision to combine person-centred philosophy with the creative arts process.

Rogers defined the person-centred expressive therapist, as one using artistic expression as a healing strategy to promote self-exploration and understanding. At the core of humanistic, expressive arts therapy is faith in the individual’s ability to find appropriate self-direction. Rogers believed that if the psychological climate is empathic, honest and caring, this will occur. She described this phenomenon using her experience of expressing sad or angry feelings through dance, noting that in the presence of an empathic, non-judgemental witness, her feelings and perceptions would shift dramatically. She observed that, after the dance movement, her visual artwork became expressive, spontaneous and revealing. When she followed visual art-making with free writing, she was able to plunge deeper into previously guarded feelings and thoughts. One expressive art form stimulated and nurtured another, invoking deeper and more profoundly meaningful revelation of her inner truths. At the same time, Rogers was aware that inner healing had taken place.

I was also inspired by Brown (2008) and Allen (1992) who illuminated the need for art therapists to continue their art work and engage in the self-reflection that artistic activity inspires, while carrying on their therapy practice. Discussing her research findings, Brown (2008) stated that it is imperative for art therapists to nurture their own creativity during professional practice, noting that failure to do so can lead to caregiver burnout. She underscored Aliaga’s (2003) and Allen’s (1992) opinions that burnout, stress, career drift and clinification result when the art therapist neglects to engage in regular art making. Noting that art therapists differ from other therapists by using creative processes to engage with clients, Brown (2008) agrees with McNiff’s (1998) observation that art therapists feel pressured to develop a medically modelled image aligned with those of more clinical therapists, rather than reflecting their own artistic personae.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Like many therapists, Laurie Ponsford-Hill began as a newly graduated therapist feeling like she could provide her services all day, every day. She realized at a certain point in her career that this was simply not true, and this fueled her determination to understand everything about the need to maintain balance in her life.

Laurie earned a Master of Divinity degree, and directed her work towards pastoral care, later earning a Master of Counselling Psychology degree and furthering her Registrations to that of Psychotherapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Social Worker, and Art Therapist. Her career led her to a greater understanding about herself and her relationships. Laurie continued to broaden her education and went on to complete a doctoral program in Human Relationships at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

Laurie feels fortunate to have attained balance in her work and home life and empathizes with many others engaged in their own personal struggles to attain balance. She has dedicated her career towards helping others on that journey, designing the Self-Supervision program, which was meticulously tested in this clinical research study. The Art of Self-Supervision: Studying the link between self-supervision and self-care chronicles the remarkable findings of this study: that professionals can overcome burnout and improve their health and life balance by focusing on their self-portrait.

Laurie is currently the Clinical Director and Supervisor at The Counselling House, in both London and Woodstock, Ontario, an agency that focuses on the supervision of counselling interns and newly graduated therapists, and their development of self-supervision. Laurie maintains a private consulting practice specializing in the development of maintaining healthy relationships with self, work, home, others, God, and the world. 


Connect with Laurie Ponsford-Hill





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Laurie Ponsford-Hill will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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