Towards an interactional approach to reflective practice in social work

Steve Kirkwood, Eric Laurier, Viviene Cree, William Whyte, Beth Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reflective practice is a key aspiration within social work; being a reflective practitioner is considered to be a foundational attribute of the social work professional. However, achieving reflective practice is not straightforward. Reflection is inevitably subject to issues of memory and recall, so that the recollection of a case is likely to differ in important ways from the original instance. Moreover, giving an account of an event to one’s peers or supervisors
involves aspects of justification and self-presentation that may emphasise selectively and ignore key details of the original event, whether through a process of conscious omission or subconscious forgetting. This article reports on a knowledge exchange project that sought to enhance criminal justice social workers’ reflective practice through the use of Conversation Analytic Role-play Method (CARM), an approach that is methodologically and theoretically grounded in the study of talk-in-interaction, drawing on video re-enactments of real encounters between practitioners and service users. We argue that by engaging collaboratively in this way, the practitioners and researchers learned a great deal about how practice in criminal justice social work is ‘done’ (that is, reflection) and also about the wider context within which criminal justice social work is practised (that is, critical reflection).
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • social work
  • reflective practice
  • talk-in-interaction
  • knowledge exchange
  • CARM
  • conversation analysis

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