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Making time for reflection in practice: Clinical practice as a reflective practitioner

Harry O'Hayon

7 Nov 2023


Reflective practice has been demonstrated to contribute to improved therapeutic outcomes for clients. Reflective practice has become a critical aspect of professional development in the field of psychological practice, and indeed healthcare in general. Professional standards, and in some instances even obtaining and maintaining accreditation with a professional body, requires clinicians to evidence the competence of reflective practice. Reflective practice can be done individually, or in either a facilitated or peer-led group format.    

Reflective practice is a process professionals engage in to explore an experience, and to bring to light and clarify issues that may be of concern, possibly triggered by something that happened in a clinical setting. Through a structured process, reflective practitioners can identify what their role in this experience was by exploring their behaviours and thinking, as well as associated emotions. Self-reflective practice, when performed thoroughly and honestly, allows clinicians to identify and change their clinical approach. This in turn can lead to becoming a more skilled and effective practitioner, whilst also being aware and engaging in appropriate self-care. 

Self-reflection is the ability to create a space within your mind to reflect on things both as they happen and afterwards. Building a committed practice of self-reflection can prevent clinicians from reacting to things that may be triggers, often based on their own personal history, assumptions, beliefs, and experiences. Self-reflective practitioners are better able to suspend their reactions to things that may happen within and outside sessions. The skill of self-reflection can also be taught to clients so they too can become observers of their own thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and through this manage their behavioural reactions more effectively and constructively. 

John Dewey (1933) was among the first to write about Reflective Practice with his exploration of experience, interaction, and reflection. Schön (1983), followed theories of Dewey. He defines reflective practice as “the practice by which professionals become aware of their implicit knowledge base and learn from their experience”.  Schὂn (1983) goes on to define reflective practice as “the capacity to reflect-on-action, thus enabling continuous learning”.  In this interactive workshop we will explore the concepts of reflective practice and analyse the reflection-to-action approach proposed by Schön (1983).

The event will be equivalent to 2 hrs of CPD.


In this two-hour workshop we will:
• Explore the forms that reflection-in-action take, and what it looks like in clinical practice.
• Analyse various reflective processes, and how they interact with one another.
• Discuss the idiosyncrasies to reflection-in-action within clinical practice.
• Explore the limits of our ability to reflect-in-action, including how healthcare settings and clinicians’ limitations, as well as service constraints interact with one another?
• Discuss the possible options to increase the scope and depths of reflection-in-action within your specific clinical practice.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, you will have, or be able to:
• Gained an understanding of the form reflection-in-action takes?
• Developed an understanding of the differences and similarities across various features of the reflection-to-action process.
• Discuss how reflection to action processes interact with one another, and what the action stage may look like.
• Understand the limits of our ability to reflect in action, and how this may interact with service level limitations and constraints.
• Developed an understanding of possible ways to increase the scope and depths of reflection-in-action, despite possible service and professional role constraints.

Training Modalities

Didactic content, interactive components, polls, Q&A.

Key References

Andrews, J. (2000). The value of reflective practice: A student case study. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(8), 396-398.

Boud, D., & Walker, D. (1990). Making the most of experience. Studies in Continuing Education, 12(2), 61-80.
Boud, Keogh & Walker, (2013). Promoting reflection in learning: A model. In Boud, Keogh & Walker (Eds.) Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page, pp.18-40.

Boyd, E. M. & Fales, A. W. (1983). Reflective learning: key to learning from experience. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 23(2), 99-117. doi: 10.1177/0022167883232011

Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (2005). Workplace learning: evidencing through reflection and evaluation, Information Paper 31. London: CSP.

Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think: A Restatement of the Relation of Reflective Thinking to the Educative Process. Boston: D. C. Health
Eraut, M. (2004) Editorial: the practice of reflection.  Learning in Health and Social Care, 3(2), 47-52

Finlay, L. 2008. Reflecting on reflective practice Available at:

Fish, D. and Coles, C. (1998) Professionalism eroded: professionals under siege. In D Fish and C. Coles (eds.) Developing professional judgement in health care: learning through the critical appreciation of practice. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann

Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. London: Further Education Unit.
Greenwood, J. (1993) Reflective practice: a critique of the work of Argyris and Schon. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19, 1183-1187.

J.Mezirow (ed.) Fostering critical reflection in adulthood. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kinsella, E. (2001). Reflections on reflective practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 195-198
Moon, J. (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: theory and practice. London: Kogan Page.

Schön, D. A (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.
Usher R, Bryant I, Johnston R (1997), Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge. Learning Beyond the Limits, London: Routledge.

van Manen, M. (1990) Researching lived experience: human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. New York: State University of New York Press.

About the presenter

Harry O’Hayon is originally from Canada and is trained in both Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, and in Counselling Sciences. He is accredited with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). He is a practicing clinician with extensive experience working with people who have a mood disorder. His previous role as Clinical Lead and Head of Prevention Services in a major NHS Trust in London involved leading an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – IAPT service; a Self-Management & Behavioural Change Specialist Service for people with chronic long term physical health conditions; and a Smoking Cessation Service.

His work experience at The University of Reading with The Charlie Waller Institute for Evidence-based Psychological Treatments has given him a solid understanding, and hands on experience, of the development and dissemination of evidence-based psychological treatments, and the challenges and opportunities associated with translating research and science in clinical practice. He regularly trains mental health clinicians on how to deliver evidence-based psychological treatments using CBT approaches both in the UK and internationally. Clinically he also offers consultation, supervision, training, and advice to various NHS Trusts and private organisations on delivering evidence-based psychological treatments. His clinical specialism is the assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resulting from either type 1 or 2 trauma. His previous role in a dual-diagnosis in-patient rehabilitation service for people with PTSD and substance dependency provided him with an opportunity to develop a wide repertoire of approaches to treat complex developmental trauma.

Who should attend

This webinar is most suitable for anyone working with clients in the role of low intensity/psychological wellbeing practitioner.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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