City Research Online

Methods of reflective practice

Wood, J. (2007). Methods of reflective practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Background: Acknowledging that reflecting on experience is a necessary, but potentially difficult process for the neophyte professional, due to the need to disclose potentially complex issues and concerns, the reflection literatures argue that this process requires the trainee to reflect within a supportive environment. This study considerst his under-researchedc ondition of reflection within counsellor/therapist supervision. Utilising the model of reflectivity in supervision produced by Neufeldt, Kamo and Nelson (1996) and the wider reflection literature, the main aim of this study was to consider the impact of the perception of a supportive supervisory environment on the willingness to disclose issues and concerns in order to initiate the reflective process.

Method/Analysis: Employing a mixed methodology, in Part 1 of the study 15 participants (consisting of counselling psychology trainees, newly qualified counselling psychologists and supervisors) were interviewed to ascertain the types of issues and concerns disclosed in supervision in order to begin the reflective process. These semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analysed using a content analysis methodology. Results of the coding exercise were subject to inter-rater reliability testing using Cohen's kappa. The themes validated in the study provided the basis for the development of the Disclosure in Supervision Questionnaire (DISQ). In Part 2 of the study, a cross-section of 123 counselling psychology trainees from seven counselling psychology programmes were asked to complete the Revised Relationship Inventory (Schacht, Howe and Berman, 1988), the Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Inventory (Olk and Friedlander, 1992), the DISQ and a short demographics information sheet. In terms of the statistical analysis, the data was explored and transformed to provide normal or near-normal distributions. The validity and reliability of all the measures were tested using principal components analyses, Cronbach alphas and split-half reliabilities. Once validity and reliability had been ascertained, the study's hypotheses were tested using Pearson correlation coefficients, ANOVA and a series of standard multiple regressions.

Results/Conclusion: The findings suggest that the perception of a supportive supervisory environment as defmed in the study does impact on the initiation of the reflective process. More specifically, a significant positive relationship was found between the perception of the supervisor demonstrating the facilitative conditions and a willingness to disclose and a significant negative relationship was found between this willingness to begin the reflective process and a perceived ambiguity and/or conflict involving the roles and expectations of supervision. The experience of the trainee had a negligible impact on these findings. In terms of the predictive nature of the different aspects of a supportive supervisory environment, the facilitative conditions provided the strongest predictor. However, it is evident that although a supportive supervisory environment is important, other elements of the supervisory environment may also impact on the reflective process. These elements and suggestions for further research are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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