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Clinical psychologists’ use of reflection and reflective practice within clinical work

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Abstract

Previous research regarding reflective practice has considered the training and development of reflective skills; little attention has been paid to how these are used by clinicians in practice. This study aims to understand how clinical psychologists experience reflection and reflective practice in their day-to-day clinical role. Six practicing clinical psychologists in Singapore were interviewed regarding their experiences. The interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Participants experienced reflection and reflective practice in many ways. Reflection helped the participants understand themselves better and how they personally impacted their work. Reflection helped in understanding and engaging with clients; it was particularly important for the development of the therapeutic relationship, and when cases felt ‘stuck’. Finally, reflection helped participants understand their professional role as clinicians, and maintain professional and ethical standards. Whilst participants valued reflection and could describe the mechanisms they used to reflect, they struggled to define reflective practice and their own process of reflection. In conclusion, participants were able to describe how using reflection and reflective practice within their clinical work benefited them and their clients. Further investigation into this area is required, particularly focusing on the challenging issue of developing a clearer definition of reflective practice.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-743
Number of pages13
JournalReflective Practice
Volume16
Issue number6
Early online date16 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2015
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

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  • clinical psychology, professional development, reflection, reflective practice, training

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