Gillie Bolton, Heather Allan and Helen Drucquer
Reflective practice is key to the meaningfulness of therapeutic endeavour.
This chapter examines the use of expressive and explorative writing for reflective practice for professional and personal development. It draws upon my own (Gillie Bolton) experience running groups for therapists, counsellors, clinical psychologists and other clinicians. It also draws upon practising psychotherapists Heather Allan and Helen Drucquer's experience of using writing for their own reflections upon practice. The processes of writing, and making reflective use of that writing, are examined, and examples of writing and their effect are given.
A reflective practitioner examines their practice, and their approach to practice, using their full range of critical, affective, spiritual, practical and knowledge-based faculties. Using reflective practice writing effectively is even better than driving with all-round vision. Big shiny rear and wing mirrors, a well-washed windscreen and rear window are all working for you to enable all-round vision. You can angle the rear-view mirror to see the children on the rear seat when you stop at traffic lights, or towards your face to take the eyelash out of your eye. But using writing within reflective practice adds an extra dimension-that of being able to apprehend what another road user might do before they do it, and what your own instinctive reaction is likely to be.
Reflection upon action was a process identified by Schon (1983): a process of deeply considering events afterwards in order effectively to enhance practice. Critical reflection upon situations of unfamiliarity and complexity is a vital component of professional practice. It can enable the: