A Reflective practitioner is an evolving practitioner

I'm often struck by the number of people who pursue diverse learning experiences through weekend workshops, online courses and other forums who then become practitioners using the content they just learned. Sometimes these intense bursts of study awaken a long held memory or ability to use the content and techniques in a masterful way. It happened to me.

This experience prompted me to train in specific methods, investigate the ingredients required for facilitating healing, studying texts and teachings from esoteric and exoteric sources as well as peer reviewed research evidence. It's an endless and enriching pursuit of truth while refining myself so that I can work more effectively, and harmlessly, with others.

But I have blind spots too and I need someone's help to reveal them. We don't know most of the contents of our mind so it's important to always revisit my values, assumptions and how my beliefs can interfere with forming healthy therapeutic or mentoring partnerships with clients. So I have a few mentors: one for reflective practice & debriefing, one as my therapist, a triad of peer support and critical friends.

Reflective practice is an essential tool for ALL healthcare workers. It helps us to look at what we're doing and honestly asking ourselves if we're achieving the desired effect that aligns with our vision, values and ethics for practice. It's not a one-off process and requires continuous practice, to prevent perpetuating practices and processes that are ineffective, harmful or less effective than we think.

Reflective supervision, reflective practice and debriefing are requirements in social work, psychiatry, psychotherapy and counseling modalities. Surprisingly, the people most exposed to trauma i.e. doctors, nurses, police or criminal lawyers, and who are at risk of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout, are generally not mandated to receive this type of support to unload the impact of their work and evolve their practice to align with desired outcomes. There is even less structured and organised support for complementary therapy professions, coaching and healing practitioners unless it's built into their individual licensing requirements. I won't go into how or why this is - but it was a motivator for becoming a reflective practice & debriefing facilitator, dispute resolution professional and mentor for health professionals on processes of self-preservation, healing and personal growth.

If we want to provide our highest quality service, benefit others, learn more about ourselves AND do no harm, how will we know if we're meeting our standards of practice unless we're checking in with someone?

Reflective practice has been a game changer for me in how I facilitate workshops, debriefings and hold mentoring sessions. Discovering some new information about a situation that's caused inner conflict, how to better structure sessions, or solutions to issues that kept me stuck that came from ME, and not from my mentor, are empowering. I've also learned ways to communicate specific ideas through live skills practice and how to deliver feedback that is constructive, encouraging while also genuine. Putting my practice under the microscope is uncomfortable, but necessary for evolving my practice, maintaining ethical conduct, minimising harm and aligning my practice with what it means to be an effective practitioner.