Reflective practice and why it is essential at One-Eighty
Throughout working with One-Eighty and indeed within Social work practice I have often stumbled across the notion of reflexivity. The concept of reflexivity has become increasingly significant in social work literature in regards to social work theory education and practice (Gillighan and Melenex 2005). It can feel as though sometimes you are often “beating yourself up” about your practice as you are assessing and reassessing what you do. However, it supports us at One-Eighty to establish best practice and meet the needs of the children and young people we work with.
Reflexivity specifies that social workers identify they are social actors who engage the processes and outcomes of a society situated context with service users who themselves are in a social context (Sheppard 1998; Sheppard 2000). Fook (1999) describes self-reflexivity as an “attitude” or “assumption” an approach rather that a set of new skills (Fook 1999). As it is based upon the understanding of contribution to each predicament we encounter. In order to be reflexive we need to be aware of the many varied ways in which we may create or influence types of knowledge that we use (Lishman 2007). As this can have a positive or negative effect on those around us.
Reflexivity has supported my learning and understanding when working with young people. It has also supported me to understand that focusing on one single theory cannot encapsulate the totality of a person’s experience, and in reflecting on my practice an eclectic approach is needed. Often I have come away from a session questioning the approaches that I have applied strengths based, person centered restorative justice etc and have realized that reflecting is vital when working with vulnerable young people. As social workers we need to continue reflecting on our practice.
A Social Worker that I once worked with said to me never become complacent in your work. This has resonated true as when we work with vulnerable people we need to ensure that our practice meets those people’s best interest. This is why at One-Eighty we realize the importance of reflective practice in our day to day.