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To practice multi-cultural supervision creatively means to enable experiences of the other to emerge. How-ever, it is clear that supervision cannot be a substitute for therapy as the ideal safe place for this.
When we talk about cultural differences between supervisor and supervisee we say that one of them is bi-cultural: the culture of the heritage and the culture of the actual social world mix in one person. My own experience of becoming bi-cultural somehow forced me to a new cultural identity.
The paper of Sapriel and Palumbo (2001) is a good example of how these two authors were able to understand their culture and its implications for their therapeutic work. Lolita Sapriel and Dennis Palumbo present their personal history as their way into bi-lingualism and bi-culturism. In their added clinical vignettes we learn how their cultural context including their „Organisation Principles“ (Sapriel and Palumbo, 2001) is one of the contexts to find meaning with their clients. Sapriel and Palumbo illustrated „how cultural biases and specific familial dynamics can join in influencing both therapist’s and client’s organisation of experience, and the always present danger that the therapist’s assumptions about the patient (either of perceived social/cultural similarity or dissimilarity) can obscure the appreciation and investigations of the patient’s personal universe“ (p.95). They conclude that both „Gestalt therapy and intersubjectivity theory (a relational, psychoanalytic theory) are viewed as being ideally suited for cross-cultural application as they reject the notion of only ‚one truth‘, are contextual and field-theory based, and respect the phenomenology of subjective experience“ (p.86). This paper also confronts us with the existence of female and male cultural subworlds within a culture. The complexity of culture in its vitality within a person will have to be understood in relation to many other factors like social status, gender. etc.
A german expression says that it is better to stand on both legs. I want to apply this to the field of cultural differences in supervision. The transmission of knowledge is a good leg to stand on. But it also needs emotional confrontation leading to experiences and awareness.

Key words: multi-cultural, bi-cultural, subworlds, complexity, transmission of knowledge


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Appel-MulticulturalSupervision-SV-11-2002 [202 kB]

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