Supervision Bulletin
News and Information for 
AAMFT Approved Supervisors and Supervisors–in–Training
Winter/Spring 2001
Page 7

Who Writes about Family Therapy Supervision? A Brief Reflection
Gonzalo Bacigalupe

(…) embracing multiculturalism, compels educators to focus attention on the issue of voice. Who speaks? Who listens? And why? (Hooks, 1994, p. 40)

The latest edition of the Supervision Bulletin with its new design provides the reader with photos of the authors (a feature I strongly encourage) giving us a contextual clue that is often missed in other newsletter and journal publications. This effort harmonizes well with our stance as systemic and relational supervisors since we pay careful attention to context and process. The photos, in this case, illustrate who was included and excluded from having their voices heard and reveals to us how much we still need to do to be fully inclusive in our field. For supervisors of color, opening this publication, like many other journals in the field, is again a painful reminder of who writes and who constructs the truth about clinical supervision. As Gadamer (1975) has suggested, who we are informs our interpretation of reality, it is our methods of understanding that construe truths. As supervisors of systemic therapists, we probably agree with the notion that our task is in part a dialogue about multiple versions of reality, a fusion of horizons.

What will it take to have a more diverse roster of authors of color in this publication? What will change the inclination to ghettoize the publication of papers about "multicultural issues" in a special issue? What will we need to do for dominant privileged groups to stop defining the scope of practice, the appropriate ways of approaching the subject, the community of reviewers, the preferred epistemologies, the right emotional tone that should transpire in text, the structural form of well written papers, and, among others, what constitutes multicultural issues? What will move so many authors to take a committed listening stance?

These observations are not designed to critique the actual quality of the papers I read in the last Bulletin, nor to question the capacity of a white supervisor to address supervisory concerns with a prism that includes racial, class, cultural, and other eco-contextual and identity markers. From my perspective, Killian’s article is certainly about this and accomplishes the task very well. What worries me is the tendency of including articles that basically repeat some interesting ideas but bring few new ideas into the conversation, a fact that is frequently allowed to a privileged group. For instance, I admire and use the collaborative ideas (Anderson) in my work and feel compelled by her writing. To what extend her inclusion, however, reflects also the lack of inclusion of those who are simply absent from these pages? As our publications insist on affirming whiteness, how can we sustain a both/and stance, another one of those shared and beloved ideas in family therapy?

What is the threshold that defines the inclusion of a new idea and thus the choices made about whom this publication includes? What will it take to have articles by authors who bring a different sensibility? What will it take to have bicultural and biracial voices to have a prominent space in the Supervision Bulletin pages? What will make this publication a safe place for Approved Supervisors and supervisors-in-training to stretch our understanding of our cultural, racial, and class identities? I believe it will take a tremendous commitment on the part of those who are privileged and in particular, from those of you who think that you are not in a position of power to do much about this. This is not about just inviting some of the more compelling faces among the community of family therapists of color. It is truly about affirming, collaborating, enriching, listening, financing, and supporting those voices that the Bulletin, at the moment, excludes. How much more resources as an organization are we willing to invest in fostering these kinds of endeavors? How much will it take? As leaders of this field, these questions are not trivial but will determine our survival, our profession’s growth, the delivery of sound clinical interventions in the field, and our capacity for rapid demographic changes.

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Ed.D., is assistant professor and Director of the Family Therapy Program at the Graduate College of Education– University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a research faculty associate at the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Community Development and Public Policy. Dr. Bacigalupe is the chair of the AAMFT Elections Council and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

References

Gadamer, H. G. (1975). Truth and method. New York, NY: Seabury.

             Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge.


Supervision Bulletin
Winter/Spring Issue
2001
Page 7

© 2002 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
112 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 838-9808  -  Fax: (703) 838-9805