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Art Paper



Ana Serrano Navarro

Supervision as Memory and Creation Space

Memory is built on narrative-visual discourses that make sense of subjectivity. Art therapists are storytellers: the stories of the people we work with, those of the people we train, the ones we build on from the authors we read, all of them are in the end also our own stories. In training, sessions and supervisions, a scene, an image, or a previous bond is clearly present in our minds to illustrate some relevant aspect of the present.

Memory transforms our body, and accumulated experience generates a constellation of knowing that connects one experience with another, one´s pain with the other´s pain, and, in the end, with one's own pain. They weave an aesthetic and relational resonance and countertransference too, to understand how much of the art therapist's own is present in working with people.

Accounts of sessions and their creative processes are the necessary material for professional supervision. Thus, the construction of a case is a creative process in which the art therapist relies on instruments of different kinds: notes, texts, records, plastic or poetic resonances, images of the works, until s/he manages, through this narrative, to give shape to the feelings of the person who trusts in what they are creating together. The therapist works to bring this to the supervisor and together, co-build the narrative memory of each case as a unique experience of meaning. The supervisor listens to the story and in turn builds for themselves a new image.

This paper addresses some of these concepts, illustrated by clinical vignettes of cases or situations such as those above described, as well as the analysis of the experiences of both art therapists and supervisors within the supervised-supervisor relationship.


El espacio de supervisión como espacio de memoria

La memoria se construye en discursos narrativo-visuales que adquieren sentido en relación con la subjetividad.

Los arteterapeutas somos contadores de historias: las de las personas con las que trabajamos, las de las personas a quienes formamos, las que construimos sobre los autores a los que leemos,…Y todas ellas, al final, son también nuestras propias historias.

En las formaciones, en las sesiones y en las supervisiones, una escena, una imagen o vínculo anterior se hacen presentes con claridad en nuestra mente para ilustrar algún aspecto relevante del presente. El recuerdo atraviesa el cuerpo y así, la experiencia acumulada genera una constelación de saber que conecta unas vivencias con otras, conectando el dolor una persona con el dolor de otra y a su vez, con el propio dolor. Se tejen a ritmo de resonancia estética y relacional, y de contratansferencia para entender cuánto de lo propio del arteterapeuta se pone en juego en el trabajo con las personas.

Los relatos de las sesiones y sus procesos creadores constituyen el material necesario para la supervisión profesional. Así, la construcción de un caso es un proceso creativo en el que el arteterapeuta se apoya en instrumentos de diversa naturaleza: notas, textos, registros, resonancias plásticas o poéticas, imágenes de las obras, …hasta que logra, mediante su narrativa, dar forma al sentir de la persona que confía en lo que juntos están creando. Trabaja para que le llegue al supervisor y juntos, co-construir la memoria narrativa de cada caso como una experiencia única de sentido. El supervisor escucha el relato del que a su vez construye una nueva imagen.

La presente comunicación aborda algunos de estos conceptos, ilustrados mediante viñetas clínicas de casos o situaciones como las descritas, así como el análisis de las experiencias de arteterapeutas y supervisores en relación con la relación supervisando-supervisor.


Ana Serrano Navarro holds a PhD in Education from the Complutense University of Madrid. Previously she took a Master’s degrees in Art Therapy and in Psychotherapeutic Intervention and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Associate professor on the Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Art Education for Social Inclusion at the Complutense University of Madrid and teaching partner in different trainings in Art Therapies.

Coordinator and supervisor of the art therapy project at the José Germain Children and Youth Hospital.

Collaborator on the research project I+d+i Aletheia: Art, Art Therapy, Trauma and Emotional Memory.

Art therapist at the Madrid Centre of Community Health CMSc San Blas - Madrid City Council (2017-2018). Currently, she provides art therapy services in private practice, individual and group sessions.

Recent Publications

The Narrated Wound: A Look at Trauma from Art Therapy with Children. In: Marián López Fernández Cao (ed.): Art, memory and trauma: Aletheia, giving shape to pain, vol. 2, by Number 368 of the Science Collection, Psychology series, Madrid: Editorial. Fundamentos. ISBN: 978-84-245-1387-0. Pages: 209-234

Co-coordination: Art opens windows. Re-build ourselves through art. A guide to masculinity for people deprived of liberty. Editorial Eneida.

Drawing the gaze: Reflections on the supervision of students in traineeship of the UCM Master’s Degree on Art Therapy. Co-authorship. UCM Art Therapy Magazine. Vol.: 14/2019
Implementation of Art Therapy Programme in "Madrid City of Care". III FEAPA Congress

Inward and outward, a double gaze at art therapy practice from intervention and supervision: adjustments for interdisciplinary work. III FEAPA Congress.

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