Reflective Practice

What is it?

A practice-focussed professional relationship that enables a mediator to reflect on their practice with the support of a skilled supervisor. This support facilitates the opportunity to openly discuss successes and challenges; as well as concerns and anxieties about practice so enabling the mediator to identify and acknowledge good practice and to plan ways to improve performance. Through reflection, the mediator can further develop skills, knowledge and competence, enhancing client protection, quality and safety of practice.

Why Reflective Practice/Supervision?

By a process of sensitive yet constructive challenging, the supervisor enables the mediator to develop insight into him/herself and his/her clients with the objective of becoming a more capable, confident and effective mediator. It is considered an essential tool in the development of good professional practice.

What is involved?

Critical reflection involves interpreting experiences and data to create new insights and then arriving at an agreement about the necessary action. The mediator moves beyond collecting, processing and reviewing data and information, to ask important questions like; what is happening? What is the implication? What does one do next? It is necessary to evaluate and reflect in order to learn from situations and then to apply such learning flexibly to new experiences. Reflection is a path towards desirable and effective practice, undertaken in a meaningful and practical way. It is a process of self development, of becoming the kind of mediator one would wish to be.

Advantages of Reflective Practice/Supervision

  • It makes for a more confident and competent mediator.
  • It helps to uncover new information which can improve practice.
  • It provides guided choices for further learning.
  • It enables learning from the experience of others
  • It has the protection of ground rules.

Potential Disadvantages of Reflective Practice/Supervision

  • Mediators may become anxious about their practice.
  • It can be time consuming.
  • Lack of experience can affect reflective practice.

Success Factors for Effective Reflective Practice/Supervision

  • Organisational commitment;
  • Development from bottom up and driven from top down;
  • A strong professional value base recognising the usefulness of the practice;
  • A critical mass of people with skills in this way of working;
  • Reciprocity in that all involved understand and share the benefits of this approach;
  • Robust evaluation.

Methodologies Which May Form Part of Reflective Practice/Supervision

Reflective Practice/Supervision meetings (individual or peer) to reflect on action; diaries and learning journals.