Relational supervision and the traumatic ethnographical experience
(University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
This paper considers the application of therapeutic supervision for people witnessing traumatic and distressing events in collaboration with other disciplines and organizations; and its application for anthropological researchers returning from their fieldwork .
Paper long abstract:
DisastersIn this paper I will focus on the themes of power, participation, and potency from the perspective of applied anthropology using my psychotherapeutic experience of data collection and report writing in agencies and organisations as a therapeutic inquiry and as a collaborative process with participants. I will discuss examples of challenges that I encountered in my own fieldwork from my doctoral research in anthropology, consultancy and supervision as a psychotherapist working with regional and international charities on issues relating to vulnerability, violence, abuse and neglect. I explore the notion of vicarious trauma experienced by anthropologists during their fieldwork data-collecting phase and in their writing up. When gathering data from participants the relational ethics issues can be focused on the anthropologist's own professional identity or lived experience. This can have the potential to communicate what is taking place between what is being evoked and what is being understood consciously or unconsciously. During many encounters we are left wondering 'who am I to you?' and 'what are we doing?' This awareness can develop with the applied anthropologist and can be re-encountered reflexively when writing up their experience. We research usually that which is a part of our own story which resonates with the wounded storyteller (Frank, 1995). I will explore how we can make and remake our research fieldwork experiences when we engage in the act of writing about witnessing trauma and how this therapeutic process in collaboration with psychotherapeutic methodology can assist dealing with trauma.
Living with disasters: hazards, continuity and change