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Essay Service Examples Psychology Critical Reflection

Importance of Critical Reflection in Social Work

Critical Reflection plays a significant role in social work, when practicing social work, it is important to reflect on new but also old experience for present and future learning. In Gardner’s Being Critically Reflective: Engaging in Holistic Practice she writes a section called ‘Theoretical Underpinnings’ which talks about the four theories that both Jan Fook and she ‘use the primary underpinning blocks for critical reflection (Fook and Gardner, 2007). Gardner (2014) also mentions that psychodynamic and narrative approaches are also used to complement critical reflection by practitioners and their organisations. In addition to this Gardner (2014) also talks about ‘the main four theories of critical reflection, including psychodynamic and spirituality theory and their contribution’. The four theories that Gardner (2014) talks about are ‘Reflective Practice, Reflexivity, Postmodernism and Critical social theory’.

Gardner (2014) summarises all 4 theories listed above, to begin she firstly addresses reflective practice which ‘emphasises identifying the feelings, thoughts, values and assumptions that influence practice; valuing experiential or practice knowledge and developing awareness of the differences between espoused theory and theory used in practice.’ She then moves onto talking about reflexivity which ‘generates understanding about the complexities of how workers and their service users/communities perceive themselves and each other, the value of understanding that all of who we are (physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually) influences how we perceive others and are perceived by them. Postmodernism is summarised next which Gardner (2014) states it ‘challenges modernist thinking that assigns people to limit categories and often to binaries, understanding of the impact of current thinking at a social level including attitudes to and influences of power and how this is embedded in language’. In Gardner’s final summary she talks about critical social theory which ‘Identifies the interrelationships between cultural and social values and expectations and how these are internalized by individuals, often in unhelpful ways; emphasises the importance of social justice approach’.

Reflective practice is perceived to be originated with Schon (1983) where he talks about reorganising values in practice in order to view certain situations differently. Schon (1983) states ‘this learning from experience includes the ability to stand back from what is happening to explore thoughts, reactions and/or assumptions that might influence a situation. Schon (1983) also talks about how his uncertainties act as a learning opportunity and assure the aligning of power imbalances to seek out connections and mutual respect between client and practitioner. Wright (2009) also mentions that ‘focusing on the feelings or emotions is often a gateway to accessing the underlying assumptions or values that are important that each person is reacting from. This too is central to psychodynamic thinking. Gardner (2014) states that ‘a psychodynamic approach can foster understanding of the range of ways we guard against recognising what is painful or what we do not want to be aware of’.

Reflexivity ‘suggests practitioners need ongoing reflection, ‘a self-consciousness that allows us to be reflexive, to consider how we impact others, how we present to others, how we are perceived and that includes that context within which we engage, as well as our role and specific mandate’ (Walsh, 2012, p.192). In this section Gardner (2014) uses an example which talks about how one can perceive themselves differently in a mirror sometimes good and sometimes bad provided this she reminds readers that ‘we may be perceived differently by others from the way we perceive ourselves – they are seeing different views, ones that we are not so conscious of’

Postmodernism ‘emphasises the diversity and complexity of what influences events and a more subjective way of experiencing the world’ (Gardner, 2014). In addition to this Fook (2002), states that ‘postmodernism also raises awareness of dichotomous thinking, that is seeing the world in pairs of opposites, which imply that one group is better than the other. Gardner (2014) concludes the postmodernism section and says that ‘it is important to that post modernists like any other group vary: some would be reluctant to suggest any kind of shared sense of culture, preferring always to ask what the subjective meaning is for a particular person’.

The last theory is mentioned in Gardner’s book is a critical social theory (2014). Ife (2008) states ‘the critical aspect here provides a limit or balance to what might be perceived as a postmodern sense of anything is possible and equally valued. Support for social justice means advocating for principles that relate to human rights that will underpin practice. Brookfield (2005) also ‘suggest that we can’t know exactly what working from a socially just perspective will mean, until we try it in practice’. This is where it is important to try practising in a social perspective manner in order to know if it will be ideal or not.

critical reflection social work essay

In around the fifth week of placement, I attended a home visit with one of the case managers I work with, this home visit took place at the client’s house when we arrived the client opened the door and greeted us to come inside and have a seat. To begin the case manager and I sat down and had a conversation with the client just to set a comfortable space for assessment when a representative from the council will come and perform an assessment for the client. We were also waiting for the client’s daughter who organised this assessment. Some back story of the client, the client is 90 years old and is still currently smoking. The client is currently on level 2 but she is wanting to be upgraded to a higher level to get more funding as both her and her daughter feel like level 2 is not enough for her. The client has mentioned that due to her weak fingers she is unable to use the microwave to heat up her food, which is where the services from my agency provide. Due to being on level two there are limited hours for care workers to come and help warm up food for her as the other hours are spent for home help and personal care such as bathing and clothing the client.

When the assessor arrived, I was excited to see what sort of assessment this council representative will do. As per usual the casual greeting ‘hello how are you’ to myself, the case managers I attended with and to the client and the client’s daughter. We outlined the problem to the council representative making sure she knows that the funding the client is currently on is not enough and we require this reassessment to apply for a higher level. The council representative starts to take down details and starts to talk about what are the current services she is receiving as we started to outline what she is receiving and who from the council representative started to change the way she spoke, during the time I did not want to judge on how she was speaking but I found it difficult not to.

The council representative used a lot of ‘In my opinion’ and ‘I think you should do this’ during this time and come from a social work background I thought this was not right. As I kept listening I realised that the council also provides home care packages for their clients and her goal was to get this client to change service providers to the council, this is because I remember her saying ‘AVWA’ (where my agency is) ‘Always give out ensure milk to the client as a nutritional supplement even when they don’t need it’. I sat there hearing that and felt so annoyed especially when I looked over at the case manager, he was speechless. I felt like the council representative meant well but still had a capitalist view on things.

In applying Gardner’s (2014) critical reflection model the first stage of stage one is ‘exploring my reaction and where I was coming from’. To begin Gardner (2014) talks about context and what was the background influenced my experience, personally, I think this affected me because studying social work was the main background where this influenced how I felt, it was not right for the council representative to provide opinions and point fingers as to which way the client should go, I felt like the client had no say into what was happening and the council representative was just coming up with a care plan with no negotiation from both the client and the client’s daughter.

In terms of reactions, I felt like I reacted quite calmly I as a social work student when coming along on home visits with either my supervisor or other case managers I try to keep calm, sit and just observe. But this time around I found it difficult not to show emotion especially when the council representative continuously said ‘In my opinion’ in a very pushy tone. When did the council representative say that I found myself looking over to the case manager giving him a look that meant ‘is what she saying correct or am I crazy to be judging right now? As I gave him this look he looked back at me giving me assurance that this is not right and we both felt uncomfortable.

In terms of meaning, this scenario has really stood out to me because I felt uneasy and at first I did not know why sitting there listening to this lady made me feel this way. But as I sat there I tried to reflect to myself and tried to think about why this is so important to me at the time I just knew that something was not right about the situation but could not pinpoint what was wrong and why it mattered to me. After the home visit and on the way home in the car with the case manager I spoke to him and voiced what I was feeling at the time and asked myself but also him if I was crazy for thinking that the situation was not right, he replies to me and says ‘I don’t know what we got ourselves into, she was pushing our client to leave us a service provider, she was making up stuff about our agency, she was creating a care plan with the client with no negotiation. Of course, you’re not crazy, I felt uncomfortable too’. After the case manager voiced what he had to say everything started to make sense to me, I realised what underlying values and beliefs were there for me, are that studying social work I like to be client centred and use the best interest of the client, on the other hand, this clashed with the council representative as she was quite task centred and just came up with a care plan to ‘get things done’. I felt super conflicted after this home visit and had to tell someone about it.

In Gardner’s second stage of stage one she talks about ‘What other reactions could there be? In this section, I will be talking about the reaction of the case manager I went along with.

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Social Work Reflective Essay

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Reflective Essay On Social Work

Critical aspects of social work essay.

One of the key things that stood out for me while doing this course and before has made me realize that social work is harder than I thought it would be. There are many critical aspects of social work that help us work with clients. One of the biggest things that have stood out for me was that helping people is more complicated than I thought there are so many critical things in the process that work to help others. Therefore it is not as easy as I expected it would be. The main reasons that I wanted to do this course was because I ultimately wanted to do to help people. I have learned that many factors come into play in the field of social work, including levels of practice, ethics and critical reflection and self-care.

Lying on a school assignment is something I’ve never done until now. My thought process that lead me to lie on my field exercise assignment was the pressure of being a student who complete all work assignment on time and the pressure of dealing with family issues at the time when finals were approaching. I didn’t think about the outcome of my actions I just wanted to finish my work and be done with class work, so I could focus on my finals. When I received my paper back from Dr. Nsonwu I thought I was in the clear; when I flipped to the back page to see what grade I was given my heart sank when I saw a note that read “please see me”. Walking down to Dr. Nsonwu’s office my heart was racing and I feared the worst.

Having the opportunity to hear from a variety of professionals in the social work field was the perfect addition to our course syllabus as many of my classmates are approaching their helping careers. For me personally, these speakers were able to reinforce what I desire to study during graduate school. The speakers were also able to provide me with different avenues I may want to study or pursue for a job opportunity once I have my masters degree.

Social Work Reflective Essay

From the course, I was surprised to learn how many social workers throughout history have been part of oppressive practices that negatively impacted different groups of the population, which could explain why there are people who have a strong dislike to social workers. This was surprising because as social workers we are bound to advocate for social justice for everyone including those who are living in poverty. Also, respecting different beliefs and lifestyles of individuals, families, groups, communities and nations without discrimination as emphasized in the Social Work Code of Ethics (Canadian Association of Social Workers [CASW], 2005). Some examples mentioned in lectures include social workers playing a role in the deportation of people

Essay On Social Work

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In this essay I will discuss what learning from K216 materials has been useful to me whilst working with vulnerable and/or disadvantaged service users in my student placement, and what learning I have applied to my practice. Throughout I will look at how my learning informed what I decided to do, how I went about doing this and my understanding of the practice. I will discuss learning in respect of two areas of social work, which are ‘Communication’ and ‘Working collaboratively’. For ‘Communication’ I will focus on communication with service users with disabilities and/ or additional needs and I will explore a case of a mother who I had a telephone call with who was in crisis and in a highly emotional state. With ‘Working collaboratively’,

Reflection Paper On Social Work

This internship has been a significant experience for me so far during my education journey; to progress and develop skills to become a dedicated professional social worker. Learning the theory of social work and its application in the real world; combining classroom work, with actual cases. I have a better understanding of how to apply the theoretical and practical skills I learned. Gaining this experience of working in private practice, gives me an opportunity to understand the mechanisms of a mental health office environment. By expanding my theoretical knowledge to work in other fields of social work practicum.

Upon graduation from the University at Buffalo, there were several pictures painted in my mind about how hands on Social Work was carried out in the “real” world. Several family members warned me about high burnout and nearly discouraged the challenging journey I had worked so hard to begin. Fast forward several years and there has not been a more rewarding yet challenging experience in my life as waking up and going to work with those who sometimes are unable to help themselves or are in crisis. My experience in Social Work has been some of the most rewarding (and challenging) times in my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Personal Reflection On Social Work

My interest in the social work profession became apparent during the fall semester of my junior year when I was enrolled in Social Work 205 and sociology. I had finally found subjects that I thoroughly enjoyed and academically excelled in. The events and experiences in my past and the current activities in which I am involved, have helped me narrow my studies to solely social work and has took part in shaping my hopes and plans for my first entry-level position in my chosen career after receiving my degree from WKU.

Narrative Essay On Social Work

Two summers ago, I was standing in a dust storm about 80 miles away from the nearest sign of shelter. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. With me were three of my coworkers: Dan, Joe, and Katie. Together, along with our supervisor Nathan, we comprised the on-set visual effects team for a feature length movie. We had only been working together for three months, but over this short course of time we had become a dynamic, cohesive team. Our job was to collect data from the film set that could be used by effects artists at their offices in Singapore and London. For example, I would take pictures of a prop from 20 different angles. The effects artists would then reconstruct the prop in 3D animation using my photos. However, with about six feet of visibility

Social Work Practice Essay

Studies have shown that this type of care brings about the best results. The use of

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Iain Ferguson’s analysis on where social work lies is an eye-opening account on how social work is perceived by the state and by those who social workers are fighting for. By both state and those who are receiving social work care, the perception is clear; social work is perceived to be a form of social control on one end of the spectrum, and on the other a problematic profession in which workers side with their clients. The ideological clashes that arise between society, citizen, and family is a common challenge for the social worker in which they have to balance and distinguish between “public issues” and “private problems” that arise. Iain Ferguson clearly sees the division between the state and social groups in which social workers are the scapegoat to this divisive nature. The poor want to be treated with dignity and respect however, legislation and other social work values of the past have distanced mainstream society from the less fortunate. By enhancing and evolving towards new and productive legislation, and arming the students of social work with a strong educational foundation, this can lead to combating the division that is present. Social work is evolving. It has applied social sciences of sociology, psychology, and other methods in order to combat the struggle of social welfare that is present today. However, it is clear that there is still strong division between the less fortunate and mainstream society. How can social work evolve into a profession in

At this point in my schooling, it is becoming harder and harder to get to the end. It seems like there is no end in sight. Even though I know this is not the case, it is still a struggle to get there. When I first started school I was excited and full of life. There were so many new things to learn and much knowledge to be applied to various situations. Now, I feel as if it is too much. I am slowly starting to hate to come to class. The stress of so many different papers, projects, group assignments and keep in mind I have a family and life, have taken their toll on me mentally. I feel as if I am not learning anything. We test, test and test some more. I feel like a professional test taker. When I ask what does all of this have to do with social

The Theory Of Social Work Essay

This section of the paper will discuss the definition of social work, values associated with social work and arguments for and against the use of systems theory in social work practice. Social work can be described as a field of study that encompasses individuals and their environment. Social work can be defined as work trained professionals do to elevate stressors of individuals so they may become more self-sufficient and empowered to live to their fullest potential.

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critical reflection social work essay

Critical Reflection On Social Work

Human trafficking and sex work: foundational social work.

Trafficked children show common characteristics no matter their gender, race, or ethnicity. Many of them are homeless or runaways, in foster care of from a broken home. Some children will show signs of abuse or lack of dental care, and they often come off as defiant, because they have been tried by their pimps to avoid eye contact. (Titchen, Kanani,) Child victims are faced with both physical and psychological problems that they experience during as well as after being freed. Some of these problems are more serious than others, such as sexually transmitted infections or diseases, poorly done abortions, PTSD, or chronic depression. Some problems come from their horrible living conditions while being held captive. (Ahn, Roy)

Ethical Dilemmas Of A Clinical Social Worker

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Anti Discriminatory Theory

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Ethical Issues In Child Welfare Policy

As social workers, speaking on social welfare policy standpoint, social workers do everything from the federal level to the state level insuring and overseeing the administration of social programs.

Reflective Essay: My Emerging Social Work Identity

The social work practice skills I have achieved to date include a wide range of communication and interpersonal skills that have been developed through writing up case notes after meetings with clients, as well as debriefing with other social workers. Advocacy skills have been developed through liaising with other services and speaking with supervisors to extend clients financial and casework support. Further, active listening skills have been developed through listening to the client’s needs and asking important follow up questions; this has allowed me to establish trust with my clients and obtain a better understanding of their circumstances. Moreover, I have obtained a greater self-awareness through reflecting in supervision and regular debriefing with peers in my PSAG group. Self-awareness has also been developed through my previous placement where I had the opportunity to observe a Family and Community Services (FACS)

Examples Of Ethical Dilemmas In Social Work

The article “Ethics and Value Dilemmas in Social Work” is written by Suncica Dimitrijevska and Vladimir Ilievski, published by Polirom & Universitatea Bucureşti - Dept. de Sociologie is Asistenţă Socialăby 2016.The article talks about the ethics which a social worker needs to follow and the dilemmas which they face while they deal with the different cases in their day to day life. A social worker 's decision never gets influenced by the clients age, culture, psyche or psychological abilities. This article discusses about various topics like, ‘ethical dilemmas during client support, values and knowledge in social work, values dilemmas of the clients encountered by the social workers, areas of ethical dilemmas facing social work and steps for solving the ethical dilemmas’(Dimitrijoska, Ilievski- 2016, p.49).

Annotated Bibliography On Social Work

Thorpe, R 1992, 'Community work and ideology: an Australian perspective', in R Thorpe & J Petruchenia (eds), Community work or social change?: an Australian

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Critical Reflection In Social Work

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Empowerment Theory In Social Work

Modern social workers are frequently tasked with certain objectives by their agencies, which leave little room for any work beyond specific treatments and timeframes (Gitterman & Knight, 2016). Although social workers are bound to the set of ethics put forth by the NASW, practitioners are often limited to focusing on the issues of the individual rather than the larger societal issues that may be behind those concerns. Additionally, many social work students end up working in direct practice, rather than macro work. There is a need for social workers to engage at the macro level in order to facilitate community organization and empowerment.

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This is difficult process and should be coupled with use of theoretical approaches. Adams et al (2008) advocates that social workers need to use an eclectic approach to their practice by selecting different elements from theories in order to produce one approach appropriate for the individual’s needs. Epstein (1992) suggests that to overcome the limitations of theories continuous reflection and debate is vital to incorporate complex

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Theories Of Social Work

Work to uplift the society by helping people, their families and communities by correcting their problems and try to work for their betterment. Social work is a profession and people doing social work are skilled professionals with good command on their subject. This practice requires an understanding of human. Social work professionals are found in every facet of our life. Example, education institution, companies, healthcare organisations to name a few. This profession requires a diverse range of skills and right attitude and behaviour to handle the clients. Active listening, being tolerant and empathetic, critical analysis of the situation and immense strength and determination.

How Does Alzheimer's Disease Affect Family Members

Fortune, A.E., & Reid, W.J. (1998). Clinical social work knowledge and skills. 2nd edition: Columbia University Press, New York. Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare, 4(3), 207-207.

More about Critical Reflection On Social Work

Critical Reflection

A Critical Reflection (also called a reflective essay) is a process of identifying, questioning, and assessing our deeply-held assumptions – about our knowledge, the way we perceive events and issues, our beliefs, feelings, and actions. When you reflect critically, you use course material (lectures, readings, discussions, etc.) to examine our biases, compare theories with current actions, search for causes and triggers, and identify problems at their core. Critical reflection is not a reading assignment, a summary of an activity, or an emotional outlet. Rather, the goal is to change your thinking about a subject, and thus change your behaviour.

How to Critically Reflect

Writing a critical reflection happens in two phases.

First phase: Analyze

A popular method for analyzing is the three stage model,

What? So What? Now what?

In the  What?  stage, describe the issue, including your role, observations, and reactions. The what? stage helps you make initial observations about what you feel and think. At this point, there’s no need to look at your course notes or readings.

Use the questions below to guide your writing during this stage.

In the second  So What? stage, try to understand on a deeper level why the issue is significant or relevant. Use information from your first stage, your course materials (readings, lectures, discussions) -- as well as previous experience and knowledge to help you think through the issue from a variety of perspectives.

Tip:   Since you’ll be using more course resources in this step, review your readings and course notes before you begin writing.

Below are three perspectives you can consider:

In the third Now what? stage, explore how the experience will shape your future thinking and behaviour.

Use the following questions to guide your thinking and writing:

Second phase: Articulate

After completing the analysis stage, you probably have a lot of writing, but it is not yet organized into a coherent story. You need to build an organized and clear argument about what you learned and how you changed. To do so, develop a thesis statement , make an outline , write , and revise.

Develop a thesis statement

Develop a clear argument to help your reader understand what you learned. This argument should pull together different themes from your analysis into a main idea. You can see an example of a thesis statement in the sample reflection essay at the end of this resource.

Make an outline

Once you have a clear thesis statement for your essay, build an outline. Below is a straightforward method to organize your essay.

Write and revise

Time to get writing! Work from your outline and give yourself enough time for a first draft and revisions.

Sample Critical Reflection

Below are sample annotated paragraphs from one student’s critical reflection for a course on society and privilege.

critical reflection social work essay

Social Work Reflection

Working with others and improving own learning and performance are highly essential skills in social work. In this essay I will reflect on how well I have developed these two skills and what I need to do to improve them. Before starting the degree course in university, I already had the skill working with others. As I have worked with others who were on the same course as me in the sixth form and also I did voluntary work placement which required people working together. Before starting the university my working with others was sometimes effective and sometimes not very effective depending on the people I worked with, on the topic or area we had to work on. In sixth form I got on well with everybody in my class and working with them was not difficult. For example once me and two other students had to make a PowerPoint presentation on smoking. We worked together in planning what information will be included in the PowerPoint and who will write about what, what other materials we will need such as leaflets and who will get them. So before creating the PowerPoint presentation we planned everything together. Once the PowerPoint was created we then decided the number of slides each of us will read and talk about. So here I worked with others effectively and our PowerPoint presentation was successful. However there have been times where I did not work effectively with others especially on my voluntary work placement. I did voluntary work in a nursery. I enjoyed working with the children there but I did not get on very well with the staff. The staff there did not interact with me as much and most of them usually gave orders to me e.g. to get something. When it came to working with the staff e.g. when getting the snack ready for the ... ... middle of paper ... ...alance my time. For example working for two hours and then spend one hour with friends. This would enable me to get my work done or meet my targets and fullfil other demands. In conclusion I believe that I have developed both skills working with others and improving your own learning and performance. But I need to work on these skills so I can use them in a more effective way; and I also recognise that I will not develop these in a short period of time. I will have to work on the strategies I have mentioned throughout the assignment in order to improve these skills. It may take a long time to make progress in these skills but what I need to remember and implement is the strategies that I have mentioned. Also in this process I will be able to find out whether these strategies work on me or not and if there are other strategies that can help in improving my skills.

In this essay, the author

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Social Work Reflective Essay

critical reflection social work essay

Show More The first quality that I think is critical in being an effective social worker is empathy. I think to care, and understand the needs of clients, empathy is essential. The second quality is the motivation to help clients with support and guidance. For instance, this involves participating in self-care to better serve clients. I also think that this consists of not giving up on a client, and staying proactive in helping the client change his or her behavior. The third quality that I think is critical is openness to new people and opportunities. There are plenty of people and situations that could occur in social work , therefore social workers should not be narrow minded when interacting with clients or associating with other agencies. The fourth …show more content… For instance, I think being honest and genuine is more effective when helping a client. In addition, I think some clients can see through any fake emotion or expression. I have also admired the strength other social workers possess in the field. For instance, I have not interacted with social workers who appeared to be burned out. I think participating in self-care may have contributed to the lack of burnout that I viewed among social workers. Moreover, I think my greatest strengths are my determination, passion, empathy and being proactive in social work. I think these strengths are essential in social work because of the diversity in the field. For example, for me having determination and passion motivates me to continue to interact with patients or clients. Empathy, I think helps me understand more about myself and others. In addition, for me being proactive opens me to new experiences, and more opportunities in social work. Furthermore, my greatest areas of growth are learning about different resources to assist clients as well as utilizing different intervention strategy. For instance, when a patient asks me about a service I often have to research, or ask someone else, which can be time consuming. In addition, I think learning more about different interventions will help me better assess future clients or

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The importance of reflective practice in social work

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Reflective practice is the ability to constantly monitor one’s own performance in a given role and make adjustments where necessary. For a social worker, reflective practice is particularly important because no two cases will ever be the same and it is vitally important to remain reactive and reflective at all times.

Reflective practice has been demonstrated to have significant benefits when it comes to the delivery of client-centred care, and can help a social worker to ensure that he is able to accurately assess the needs of each client as an individual rather than as a case number to be merely assigned to a particular program of action.

With reflective practice widely regarded as one of the most important elements of modern social work, it is essential that all social work students become familiar with reflective practice methods.

One of the reasons why reflective practice is so important for social workers is that no amount of training can completely prepare a social worker for the requirements of their profession over the course of their entire career.


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“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

For example, the context of a client’s problem in one decade will almost certainly be very different in another, which means that the client will need to have access to a social worker whose particular experience can take into account this new context.

Meanwhile the social worker might be stuck in a set of processes and routines from a decade ago (or further back), which means that the social worker will either be unable to help the client or, worse, will attempt to impose an outdated and ultimately useless set of rules that might even cause more damage than they resolve.

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Reflective practice also helps a social worker to stay abreast of changes to the way that social work practice manifests. Every year there are new theories and new approaches that can, if correctly incorporated into each social worker’s repertoire, result in genuine benefits for the social worker and for clients. New theories are not an automatic route to success or improvement, so it is necessary for the social worker to be selective and to be able to match new developments to their own skills.

In cases where the social worker is able to do this, the result is that new developments in social work theory are able to dramatically improve the social worker’s ability to absorb changes to the social work profession and selectively and constructively improve personal and professional performance in a way that is ongoing and dynamic.

Because of the need to reflect on personal performance and practice, self-reflective practice is strongly linked to the need to be able to develop skills for self criticism. Constructive criticism is established as a means by which a social worker can address personal and professional failings and find ways to deal with them. Since it is widely accepted that no social worker can be entirely perfect, this type of constructive criticism can be used to identify weaknesses and either neutralise them or deal with them.

This can also help the social worker to identify personal strengths. While some social workers regard all forms of criticism, even constructive criticism, as negative and dispiriting, it is generally the case that constructive criticism should be taken as an opportunity to improve rather than simply as an attack on the social worker’s professionalism and skills.

As a form of critical theory, reflective practice is one of the most important parts of modern social work and is the primary means by which any social worker can improve his overall performance. Reflective practice can not only make social work more relevant to the particular needs of each client, it can also genuinely improve the social worker’s understanding of theory and how to apply that theory to practical situations.

In general it is often argued by experts that reflective practice is a strong sign of a social worker (or other professional) who views their job not just as a way of getting paid but as a real vocation, and as a role for which they have a high degree of passion. While this generalisation might not always be true, it does seem to be true that in general reflective practice is a sign of both passion and commitment.

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The importance of reflective practice in social work

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