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THE ROLE OF CRITICALLY REFLECTIVE PRACTICE IN WORKING WITH CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. Siobhan Maclean Writer and independent social worker. Reflective practice / critical reflection : what is it?. Process of review to inform learning (eg: Schon, Reid etc)
Writer and independent social worker
Is sexual abuse about sex or about power?
What are the power dynamics in each situation – individual,organisational, cultural, societal?
Who is making decisions?
How did you find out about sex? How do you feel about sex? How do you use your “self” inyour work?
Reflection and self awareness are key aspects of emotional intelligence – “keeping distress from swamping the ability to think, to empathise and to hope” (Goleman 1996)
How does a practitioner manage emotional distress and avoid the potential for helplessness?
Is supervision sufficientlyemotionally supportive?
Knowledge is fixed and creates limitations to the way that we see things……
Knowledge is time, context and societally and culturally specific..
When was child sexual abuse first raised as an issue?
“Almost all of my women patients told me that they had been seduced by their father. I was driven to recognize in the end that these reports were untrue and so came to understand that the hysterical symptoms are derived from phantasies and not from real occurrences……
It was only later that I was able to recognizein this phantasy of being seduced bythe father the expression of the typical Oedipus complex in women.”
(Sigmund Freud 1933)
Reflective processes can potentially unearth any assumptions about anything…. Some crucial but hitherto deeply hidden assumptions may be uncovered.
(Fook 2004: 59)
Do reflective processes bury as much as they unearth ?
Sula Wolff (1973)
No mention of child sexual abuse
“This distributing fact…. Has been repeatedly unearthed in the past hundred years, and just as repeatedly buried….. The information was simply too threatening to be maintained in public consciousness.”
Critically reflective practice recognises that there is no truth and that we need to be open to all possibilities…..An ability to “imagine” or thinkbeyond knowledge
We talk about the realities of childhood sexual abuse – but how do we “know” what they are?
Reflecting on reflections about reflections….
Ties us up and prevents action
Kirwin Maclean Associates