Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care

Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care

Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care

Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care


"... the book makes an excellent contribution to the library of those keen to delve further into the realm of critical reflection, understand various interpretations of interdisciplinary practices, and use these to aid their own and others' professional practice, exploration and development." Learning in Health and Social Care How can professionals reflect critically on the aspects of their work they take for granted? How can professionals practise with creativity, intelligence and compassion? What current methods and frameworks are available to assist professionals to reflect critically on their practice? The use of critical reflection in professional practice is becoming increasingly popular across the health professions as a way of ensuring ongoing scrutiny and improved concrete practice - skills transferable across a variety of settings in the health, social care and social work fields. This book showcases current work within the field of critical reflection throughout the world and across disciplines in health and social care as well as analyzing the literature in the field. Critical Reflection in Health and Social Care reflects the transformative potential of critical reflection and provides practitioners, students, educators and researchers with the key concepts and methods necessary to improve practice through effective critical reflection. Contributors: Gurid Aga Askeland, Andy Bilson, Fran Crawford, Jan Fook, Lynn Froggett , Sue Frost, Fiona Gardner, Jennifer Lehmann, Marceline Naudi, Bairbre Redmond, Gerhard Reimann, Colin Stuart, Pauline Sung-Chan, Carolyn Taylor, Susan White, Elizabeth Whitmore, Angelina Yuen-Tsang.


[M]ost of our mental and active life is of the immediate coping variety, which is
transparent, stable, and grounded in our personal histories. Because it is so
immediate, not only do we not see it, we do not see that we do not see it, and this
is why so few people have paid any intention to it.

(Varela 1992: 19)

This book is aimed at providing practitioners, educators and researchers in health and welfare with concepts and methods to help them to 'see what they do not see'. There is a growing interest in the improvement of professional practice in health and welfare settings. the policy climate in the Western world during the last decade has fostered an outcome-oriented 'what works?' approach. Codified knowledge in various forms has come to be defined as a safe and secure base for decision-making. Such knowledge is ostensibly insulated from, and uncontaminated by, the contingencies and errors of everyday practice. the efficacy of interventions is clearly crucially important, but an exclusive focus on narrow outcome indicators can lead to a conspicuous neglect of other areas of professional activity. the complex processes by which professionals formulate their understandings have remained seriously underexplored in policy initiatives.

In contrast, the use of critical reflection is becoming increasingly promoted across the professions as one way of ensuring ongoing scrutiny and improved practice skills in the 'swampy lowlands' (Schön 1987: 3) where cookbook knowledge is difficult to apply. This book arises out of the editors' teaching and research experience in professional education, and in particular their experience in the use of critical reflection with a variety of disciplines and professional groups in the health, social care and social work fields. the aim is to present a range of approaches to interrogating practice in such a way that the hidden, tacit, or taken-for-granted aspects may be properly understood and debated. the tacit dimension has tended to be constructed as in some way unknowable. But, it is essential that we consider how it may be opened up for investigation and how professionals may be assisted to develop a critical perspective upon it.

Our aim as editors has been to showcase work, currently taking place . . .

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