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How social workers reflect in action and when and why they don’t: the possibilities and limits to reflective practice in social work

A research article about how social workers think - or don’t think - in practice.

The need for professionals to use reflection to learn about and develop their practice is now a universally stated goal. In social work however there has been little research into whether and how reflection in action actually occurs and this paper explores the possibilities and limits to reflective practice by drawing on research that observed encounters between social workers and children and families as the work was being conducted in real time. The findings show that practitioners often do reflect in action by elevating their minds above the interactions they are having so that they can think critically about and adjust what they are doing. But there are times when reflection is either limited or non-existent because practitioners defend themselves against the sensory and emotional impact of the work and the high anxiety they are experiencing. Drawing on psychoanalysis and social theories of the body and senses, the paper argues for a revision of the concept of reflective practice to take account of how the self is defended. The limits to reflection must be fully recognised while seeking ways to develop the capacity of practitioners to think clearly and critically so that vital insights about service users and the helping process can occur.

  • Author(s):
Harry Ferguson
  • Year of Publication:
2018
  • Type:
Reading
  • Tags:
Reflection
Reflective Practice, Critical Reflection, Child Protection
  • Specific Service User Group/s:
All
  • Download as File:
  • or Link to Resource:
PDF document How social workers reflect in action and when and why they don t the possibilities and limits to reflective practice in social work.pdf
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02615479.2017.1413083
(Accessed on 06/03/18)
  • Recommended by:
Jon Bolton
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  • Link to this page:
https://practicelearning.info/mod/data/view.php?d=4&rid=282

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  • Cite this page:
Ferguson, H. (2018) How social workers reflect in action and when and why they don’t: the possibilities and limits to reflective practice in social work. ScOPTbox Practice Learning Library. [Online]. Available from: https://practicelearning.info/mod/data/view.php?d=4&rid=282

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This page was printed from ScOPTbox Practice Learning Library, a resource from the Scottish Organisation for Practice Teaching. See more resources at www.practicelearning.info. Information about ScOPT can be found at www.scopt.co.uk


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