Reflective Practice

Learn the lingo of clinical psychology, what the latest issues and legislation mean for us, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 442
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Reflective Practice

Post by nettyb » Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:21 pm

How to Become a Reflective Practitioner

Most Clinical Psychology training programmes value reflection and will expect applicants to be able to reflect on their experience both on the clearing house application form and during selection interviews. Developing skills in reflection is vital for enhancing your own personal and professional development and ultimately will benefit your current and future clients.

Reflection is an active process of thinking about your own experience in order to take a closer look at it, be critical of it, and learn from it. The key to reflection is learning how to take perspective on your own actions and experience. The purpose of reflection is to allow the possibility of learning through experience, whether that is the experience of a meeting, a client, a supervision session, a success, a relationship, or any other internal or external event, before, during or after it has occurred.

Reflective practice is simply creating a habit, structure, or routine around thinking about your experiences. Some people prefer to reflect on critical incidents or those that we cannot switch off from thinking about, whereas others reflect on situations that they are indifferent about. Certain kinds of experiences create particularly powerful opportunities for learning through reflection. Struggles provide a window onto what is working and not working, and may often serve as effective tools for analysing the true nature of a challenge we are facing. Dilemmas can also provide a rich source of information about a clash between our values and our approach to getting something done. Reflecting on experiences of uncertainty helps shed light on areas where an approach to our work is not fully specified. Positive experiences can also offer powerful sources of learning. For example, breakthroughs in action or thinking are helpful in revealing what was learned and what our theory of success looks like. Breakthroughs can also instruct on an emotional level. By locating when and why we have felt excited or fulfilled by an experience, we gain insight into the conditions that allow our creativity to flourish. Now we can become more purposeful—not just about our learning but about how to work in more creative and sustaining ways.

Keeping a reflective journal can be helpful when you start out with reflection. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help you think more clearly about what happened in a given situation, why, and what you have learned form it. Some people find using a reflective model to structure their reflection useful. Reflective models provide you with some prompts that allow you to explore the situation you are reflecting on in detail.

Gibbs' model:

What happened? Telling the story (uninterrupted). A small paragraph is usually enough. Go through presenting complaints, the model you used with a basic formulation. Prepare well for this part and and you won't waffle.
What were you thinking and feeling? What were your initial reactions?(How are you feeling now as you retell the story?). How do you think the way you behaved / felt affected the therapeutic relationship?
What was good and bad about the experience? (why was it good or bad and what are you basing this judgement upon?)
What sense can you make of the situation? Think about what this means to you. What implications does it have for your future practice?
What else could you have done? (And the reasons why you didn’t?)
Action plan
If it arose again, what would you do? (the same thing or something different). Is it a situation you expect to deal with again? If not how could your reflections be applied to other situations?

Johns model:

Write a description of the experience. What are the key issues within this description that I need to pay attention to?
What was I trying to achieve? Why did I act as I did? What are the consequences of my actions?
• For the patient and family
• For myself
• For people I work with
How did I feel about this experience when it was happening? How did the patient feel about it? How do I know how the patient felt about it?
Influencing factors
What internal factors influenced my decision-making and actions? What external factors influenced my decision-making and actions?
What sources of knowledge did or should have influenced my decision making and actions?
Alternative strategies
Could I have dealt better with the situation?
What other choices did I have?
What would be the consequences of these other choices?
How can I make sense of this experience in light of past experience and future practice? How do I NOW feel about this experience? Have I taken effective action to support myself and others as a result of this experience? How has this experience changed my way of knowing in practice?

davedigger added on a forum thread that his course had recommended some books on reflective practice:

Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development
The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action

You may also find these other wikis helpful:
Reflexive Practise
Writing a Reflective Journal: Personal Development.
Prejudice and Reflective Practice

Note: If you have a suggestion about how to improve or add to this wiki please post it here. If you want to discuss this post please post a new thread in the forum.

Content checked by a 2nd Yr Trainee Clinical Psychologist on 18/09/09 and checked by ell on 26/02/12
Last modified on 26/02/12

Pearson Clinical Assessment publishes a wide range of assessments to support psychology professionals including the Gold Standard Wechsler range. To view our range please visit:
User avatar
Team Member
Posts: 572
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 9:36 am
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Reflective Practice

Post by CurlyHair » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:47 pm

I just noticed that the link to the BPS article is broken :(

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests