Supervisors Association Of Ireland’s Story

Supervisors Association of Ireland CLG.

Creating a Bridge Across Professions

The story so far…….

The Supervisors Association of Ireland was established in 2005 by a group of trained supervisors who responded to the need for an organisation that would provide the necessary recognition and standards for their unique training as Cross-Professional Supervisors.

These newly trained supervisors were graduates of Ireland’s first masters programme in supervisory practice developed by Dr. Geraldine Holton and Dr. Jack Finnegan initially delivered at Milltown Institute.

A representative group of supervisors met on June 14th 2005 in St. Stephens UCD out of which the task of establishing the organisation took its first step. The founding group formed a board of directors and it is not surprising that Dr. Geraldine Holton was appointed its first chair. She has held the position for thirteen years (2005-2019) and during that time has been an innovative, creative and inspiring leader for the organisation.

The training to become cross-professional supervisors took place in a cross-professional learning group, ‘learning with, from and about each other’ and this was unique at the time. Many in the training group were not coming from base professions that had a history of supervision thus there was not a professional body to represent them. At this time uni-professional supervision was the norm and the innovative training became a vehicle of crossing bridges between professions and establishing links with other professional organisations. SAI was later to adopt the slogan for the organisation a ‘bridge across professions’.

Some key moments in the SAI story at a glance…..

  • The official launch of the association took place in May 2006 with guests Dr. Margaret Benefiel and Dr Vincent Maloney.
  • Master class with Brigid Proctor
  • Several Conferences with Michael Carroll who has been an important contributor to the development of SAI through his support for the association and the various themed presentations on the topic.
  • One of the most exciting developments in the SAI calendar for 2007/8 was the acceptance of SAI as a full member of ANSE. This was passed unanimously by the delegates at the 11th General assembly in Vienna November 10th, 2007. Delegates from Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland were present. Since then SAI has sent a delegate to the annual general meeting of the organisation and this has been a truly enriching experience.
  • Another moment in relation to ANSE was the summer school which was hosted by the association in Trinity College Dublin also in 2007.
  • The creative presentations of Dr. Geraldine Holton’s research at a number of events during her doctoral research on Cross-Professional Supervision now feeds directly into the philosophy of the association.
  • The bi-annual conferences of the past eighteen years (36 conferences) has been educational, motivational and enriching. These were both Irish and international presenters including Dr. Jack Finnegan, Dr. Tobin Hart, Dr. Michael Paterson, Dr. Kevin Egan, Dr.Mary Ryan, Dr. Helena Hargaden, Robin Shohet, Joyce Scaife, Anna Chesner, to mention but a few.
  • The amazing variety of workshops led by experienced practitioners who are members of the association and who share their experience and unique approaches and modalities.
  • A major milestone for the association was the launch of the first journal for supervisors in Ireland ‘Droichead’ which took place 2017.

The story enters a new chapter in 2019……

A new chapter begins for SAI in 2019 with the long- term chair Dr. Geraldine Holton stepping down from the position after thirteen years of service in the role. The process of transition at this stage of the association’s development has been a challenging evolving process. This a common experience in organisations when a founder and key visionary for the development of the organisation steps down.  Dr. Holton has for at least three years attempted to step down but her changing role come into effect from Spring 2019.

A restructuring of the association including new board members and the exciting development and innovation of  joint co-chair roles for Mari Gallagher and Christine Constable. They both have complimentary skills and talents that will no doubt bring fresh energy to the association. A new role has been established for Dr. Holton, as President, in recognition of her leadership of the association, her vision for the association since its inception and her continued dedication to the association and passion for Cross-Professional supervision.