3 Common Misconceptions about Reflective Practice

3 Part Series on Reflective Practice and Psychological Safety Series (Part 3)

Welcome back to our mini-series about developing a psychologically safe partnership for reflective practice.  If you missed our previous posts follow this link for tips on finding the right feedback partner and this link for tips on developing and maintaining psychological safety.  

For the last post in this series, let’s debunk 3 common misconceptions about reflective practice (either with or without a partner)!  

Instead of hearing just from us at The Therapeutic Edge for this post, we called in some reinforcements!  The information presented below includes direct quotes from some therapists who have participated in reflective practice with Andrew Klein – the course instructor for Reflective Practice in Peds.

Check out and enroll in the full Reflective Practice eCourse (.35 CEUs for AOTA)

1. Partnered Reflective Practice will only focus on the negatives

  • I was surprised that this process helped me not only identify areas to work on, but also celebrate and lean into my strengths as a therapist! I think the word “reflection” can be scary because no one likes staring their imperfections in the face, but working with Andrew on reflection is so much more about celebrating your wins and learning about the unique outlook of each of your client. I have found myself using what I’ve learned about reflective practice to serve ALL clients, from nonspeaking clients working on engagement to an older clients working on executive function and reading skills. It has also been an amazing tool to use when supervising graduate students or new clinicians.” – Laura, SLP


2. Partnered Reflective Practice is “instructive” with someone else directing and telling me what to do differently:

  • I [thought] I would be receiving objective feedback about things I’d “done wrong” or be instructed to improve or expand upon an idea or strategy in a session. What I realized throughout the process was that reflection is a guided experience, not a dictated one. To be able to reach my full potential as a therapist, I did not need someone else’s perspective to tell me what to do, but to inspire me to dig deeper into my own ideas.” – Emily, OT


3. Reflective Practice will take up too much time:

  • While a partnered reflective practice will take up some time on your schedule, some therapists find creative ways to fit in reflective time such as taking a walk with their reflective partner over lunch.  Some therapists find that scheduled reflection-on-action is needed but can then be faded back as their reflective muscles grow.  Laura, who has done partnered and individual reflection said she was initially worried about the amount of time it would take.  Check out her current reflection routine: 
    • I often build reflection into my car ride home. When I get home, I brain dump any ideas that I had on a piece of paper, as writing things down helps me remember and implement ideas.” – Laura, SLP  

So let’s wrap up this 3-part series!  Reflective practice empowers pediatric therapists to thrive in their practice and enhance the quality of care for their clients. 

When establishing this practice, you have to consider how to choose an appropriate partner and then build and maintain psychological safety.  Picking a partner involves trust, empathy, constructive communication, shared goals, and diverse perspectives. 

A supportive environment conducive to professional growth and development requires psychological safety to be built and maintained through the expression of clear expectations, openness to vulnerability, active listening, and normalizing mistakes and failures.

Check out and enroll in the full Reflective Practice eCourse (.35 CEUs for AOTA)

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