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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)

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the role of critically reflective practice in working with child sexual abuse
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
Reflective practice / critical reflection : what is it?
  • Process of review to inform learning (eg: Schon, Reid etc)
  • Active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge (Dewey 1933)
  • Mental process of trying torestructure existing knowledge and insights(Korthagen 2001)
critically reflective practice key components
Critically reflective practice: key components
  • Rethinking / deconstructing power
  • Awareness of values and implications

for practice

  • Exploring emotions / emotional intelligence
  • Drawing on knowledge / developing knowledge and practice wisdom
  • Self awareness
  • Creating uncertainty through dynamic questioning – willingness to livewith

that uncertainty

child sexual abuse key issues
Child Sexual Abuse: key issues
  • Power and powerlessness
  • Changing societal values
  • Emotional impact / distress
  • Developing / emerging knowledge
  • Impact of personal experiences / values (self awareness)
  • More questions than answers (uncertainty)
slide6

POWER

VALUES

EMOTIONS

KNOWLEDGE

SELF AWARENESS

UNCERTAINTY

reflective practice power
Reflective Practice: Power
  • Fook – critically reflective practice
  • Deconstruction of ‘realities’ with a focus on power dynamics

Is sexual abuse about sex or about power?

What are the power dynamics in each situation – individual,organisational, cultural, societal?

Who is making decisions?

reflective practice self awareness
Reflective Practice: Self Awareness
  • Personal process relies on personal awareness

How did you find out about sex? How do you feel about sex? How do you use your “self” inyour work?

distress and emotions
Distress and emotions

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?

drawing on knowledge
Drawing on Knowledge

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?

slide11

Freud’s Seminar ‘The Ateology of Hysteria’ (1896)

“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)

slide12

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 ?

slide14

Child sexual abuse didn’t happen….

Sula Wolff (1973)

Seminal text

No mention of child sexual abuse

slide15

10 years on…..

Judith Herman

“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.”

(1982:7)

slide16
Women don’t abuse…
  • Where they do they have been coerced or controlled by men….

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?

difficulties barriers
Difficulties / barriers
  • Time constraints
  • Striving for certainty
  • Evidence based practice
  • Reflective practice can be painful and create a crisis of confidence
  • Organisational constraints
  • Lack of reflective supervision
  • Lack of clarity about reflective practice
dangers in reflection
Dangers in Reflection
  • Reflecting into a void and seeing only what we want, can take or believe....
slide20

Reflexive spaghetti

Burnham (1993)

Reflecting on reflections about reflections….

Ties us up and prevents action

characteristics of a reflective practitioner brookfield 1998
Characteristics of a reflective practitioner (Brookfield 1998)
  • Assumption analysis : challenging our own beliefs and values
  • Contextual awareness : recognition of social construction of beliefs and practice
  • Imaginative speculation: ability to imagine a different way
  • Reflective Scepticism: Challenging or suspending existing knowledge and beliefs
so what can be done individual level
So what can be done? (Individual level)
  • Find a model of reflective practice which you are comfortable with – this will vary for each practitioner
  • Seek out “critical friends”
  • Develop awareness of what is impacting on reflections
  • Don’t avoid the questions – butlikewise don’t delay actions
so what can be done organisational societal level
So what can be done? (Organisational / societal level)
  • Critically reflective organisations (Munro)
  • Challenging power
  • Educate children and young people to critically reflect
slide25
Siobhan Maclean

Kirwin Maclean Associates

enquiries@kirwinmaclean.com