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REFLECTIVE PRACTICE

I often recommend people keep a journal, whether they are patients, friends or colleagues. It can be a simple notebook kept by your bedside or favourite chair and it is not to be be kept like a diary. One does not have to note the date or even keep it tidy, this journal is solely for YOUR feelings and for no one else to read.

 

You can write in it any time of day or night, it will become like a silent, non judgemental friend. You may even want to draw pictures or use it like a scrap book if you do not feel like writing.

 

You will find you may start with quite odd words and phrases but quite often the emotions and feelings really start to flow once you let yourself go. Unlike blogging on social media, you are not looking for acceptance or recognition, you only have yourself to please!

 

This method of reflection is very cathartic and if troubled, it does feel like that you have been able to get something off your chest.

 

You may find yourself writing notes or plans for the next day or even poetry! Keep your journal to look back on or burn it like I do on Halloween! (A very good cleansing process, once I have made sure I have torn all the important notes out!)

The other method I use is a tried and tested method called The GIBBS Reflective Cycle (1988) - please read my article below on this method. It is less of an emotive process and can be used with a particular problems in work or domestic life. The process can be shared between two or more people and is far more constructive in result and application.

The last and final reflection I practice is the Tarot cards.

I created and co designed my own deck for this purpose and this method is a more creative way of getting a different perspective on the usual day to day. Please see my interview on my blog page with the Clever H Magazine.

Journal Reflection, cat and journal in grass
“What I really loved about the very professional way in which Tracy works as a trained practitioner is that she also works intuitively and connected with me as a client in a very soulful way that helped me feel seen and understood ."

Zoë Owl, Kingston Upon Thames

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE USING GIBBS REFLECTIVE CYCLE (1988)

Supportive Reflection

My colleagues and patients know that I am a big advocate of journaling for inspiration and self-focus.

 

The method I find the most effective is the Gibbs’ reflective cycle (1988). (Gibbs, G., 1988. Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. Oxford: Further Educational Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.)

For those that have not come across this before, the Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a de-briefing exercise used in nursing, psychology and social care. I was introduced to it in the year 2000 during my fourth year of Homeopathic study by a Homeopath that was also a midwife. We only had one lesson on this structured cycle but I have been using it ever since. It acknowledges concrete evidence of a single or recurring event, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation.

I am always pleased with how refreshed I feel as it never fails to dissipate my stress. My feelings are self-dissected, evaluated and the result is a purposeful structure for future conduct. It can be repeated many times to achieve clarification of method or action plan.

 

There are many variants on the Gibbs Reflective Cycle, it can be adapted to address the subject or needs of the participants. However, the six stages remain the same, Description, Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusion and Action Plan.

Further considerations around the stages of The Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle :

01

Description and facts about the event

What happened?

Who was involved?

When did this occur?

03

Evaluation. Determine the value of the feelings

Are these feelings useful to you and in what way?
What was good about the experience?
What was bad about the experience?
How did others react?
Any resolution at this time?

02

Feelings about the event, then and now

Any good feelings?

Any bad feelings?

What was the strongest feeling?

What was the weakest feeling?

04

Analysis. Analyse why your response
was such

Why did you react this way?

Has this happened before?

Drawing on your professional knowledge, what sense can you make of this situation?

05

Conclusion

What is the result of this event?
Is there anything to be learnt?
What else could you have done?

06

Action Plan

How can you move on from this?

How can you rectify this?

If this occurred again in the future, how would you deal with it?

What is you plan to change this?

This cycle can be used when dealing with a particular case in health practice. It can be applied in couples or groups very effectively.
 

As a couple, the first person explains in detail their personal experience of the event, while the second person takes the role of active listener making notes with occasional prompting at the different stages of the cycle. The couple then swap roles. It is possible to have a third person as an observer safeguarding and overseeing the method.

In a group setting, there can be couples or triads within a large group or one person can act as prompt and the group go through the stages together on a board. When in a group, this progressive practice is very supportive and transformational. Role play can also be incorporated in a training environment.

Gibbs Reflective Cycle can also be used to deal with events in one’s personal or domestic life.

Part of the Action Plan may be to seek further professional help for oneself or others if needed and supportive structures put in place.

On my own, the joy is to write freely but the idea is not to elaborate too much with the evaluation of the feelings, hence the possible need to practice the cycle with a colleague. It is possible that there are still residual feelings to be addressed and one may need to repeat the cycle at a specified time in the future, which can be recorded as part of the action plan.

 

I am so grateful to have been introduced to this creative and effective form of self care. I always look forward to sharing this explorative cycle to help others in their work and domestic life.
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