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Meeting Your Potential Through Reflection

Thank you for taking time out to visit the supervision and coaching resource website of John Driscoll, freelance writer, professional development consultant and coach specialising in supporting healthcare professionals. It is intended that the website reaches healthcare professionals and in particular my distance learning students undertaking reflective practice and clinical supervision modules and inspires other professions beginning their own journeys of reflection.

In my latest book I suggest reflection might be considered to be YOUR OWN image that appears in the mirror of the bathroom cabinet (or taking it out of a handbag). In this act you are likely to see yourself as a reflection back, the intention of using the mirror being to improve oneself, or others (often with a comb or lipstick). A further use of the term might be towards more careful thought e.g. looking in the mirror might also reveal something we may not like such as a skin blemish or where we have missed with the razor. A much wider perceptual field is also reflected through the mirror, but might not be actively noticed such as the cobweb, a flapping curtain, or toothpaste splashes presenting more choices and possibilities if you choose to widen the gaze.

In the context of being a health professional, reflection describes the different processes and tools available to an individual or group, to intentionally broaden that gaze through capturing significant aspects of that work. This provides wider possibilities for learning, improvement and change - the application of reflection as reflective practice. Boyd & Fales (1983) capture the essence of reflection as learning;

...reflective learning is the process of internally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self, and which results in a changed conceptual perspective...

Therefore reflecting on experience is an intentional learning activity requiring an ability to analyze the self in relation to what has happened, is happening and importantly act upon that learning for future practice. Reflection as a process (or the methods we employ to help us reflect) is often presented in reflective frameworks as being cyclical in nature e.g. having and describing the experience, critically reviewing that experience (perhaps in relation to others or available literature) and from that learning put those reflections into action. The notion of acting upon your reflections (sometimes referred to in the literature as being reflexive), is what in my view distinguishes reflective thinking and learning from those everyday thoughts that often pop in and out of our minds (and get forgotten very quickly) in the everyday work situation. My own framework - The What? Model of Structured Reflection (Driscoll 1994, 2000) can be thought of as being cyclical in nature (Reflective Learning Cycle) and includes trigger questions (Trigger Questions) to aid reflection to support the practitioner to keep on track with the process of reflection. Whilst not intended to be a recipe for reflection, it can be useful to begin with a basic structure to get you started.

There are further resources on clinical supervision and coaching (what I refer to as applied reflective practice) on the next few pages which will always be 'work-in-progress' perhaps not unlike the cyclical nature of reflection and reflective practice. Feel free to contact me ( to suggest further resources to add to this site, begin a dialogue or, explore ways I might be able to support your endeavours.

Why not see what I have to say about reflection, my own experiences as an educator and a freelance consultant? My first attempt at a Skype interview with Tony Lowe of Physiopedia in supporting physiotherapists with their own continuing professional development. Check out I would be happy to receive any feedback in due course.

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John Driscoll
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