Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Reflective Practice

As part of my Financial Counselling studies, I will be making about ten posts on assigned questions over the next month or so.  So you may find me making a couple of posts a day as I work through assignments, rather than my usual haphazard posting!

Life experience seems to have developed the skill of reflection in me.  How much is positive - considering how I can improve the next time - versus how much is beating myself over the head repeatedly with a (perceived) error in judgement, is however a line-ball call. 

And in some instances, I really don't want a 'next time' at which I can improve.  Such as remembering to expressly ask to be informed of what's learned from the procedure as I'm authorising a medical autopsy on my dead husband. 

As I progress to practice as a financial counsellor, being able to reflect on how I've worked with a client, the options I've identified for them, how I've presented those options and the lines of enquiry I've missed will help me improve my practice as I gain more experience.  Knowing I have a tendency to beat myself up for errors, the missed lines of enquiry will be a key area for learning through reflection.

I remember being surprised in a past job when I walked into the kitchen and found a senior executive washing the coffee cups after a meeting.  I asked him why - surely there were tasks and outcomes from the meeting he needed to work on.  He told me that doing the dishes was the time where he processed - ie reflected on - the meeting.  I found he also headed to the kitchen when stuck with a curly problem.  He simply took the opportunity to put his brain in neutral, and let the solution fall out.

In the modern work age, it's really hard to 'switch off' when you come home.  I think a lot of reflection will occur in times where you put your brain in neutral, and that's more likely to happen at home than the workplace where simple output can often equal productivity, not the quality of output. 

So, being able to put my brain in neutral regularly in the workplace will both help with further developing reflective practice, and with the issue of bringing work home with me - intended or not.  At least I can see that as one advantage of the community services sector over more commercial enterprises - stepping up and doing some of those mundane office management tasks is likely to be appreciated, if not outright expected.