Being a Reflective Counsellor

By December 5, 2019Blog

“As important as methods may be, the most practical thing we can achieve in any kind of work is insight into what is happening inside us as we do it. The more familiar we are with our inner terrain, the more sure footed our [work] – and living- becomes.”
~ P. J. Palmer

How do you reflect?⁠

Reflective counselling practice is mindful practice. ⁠

Reflective counsellors are aware of their own strengths and limitations. They conduct counselling with purpose and intention. They monitor their own levels of stress and are mindful of personal matters that may interfere with their performance. Reflective counsellors take the time to evaluate and refine their performance after each counselling session and are committed to ongoing personal growth and professional development.⁠

There are many processes that contribute to effective reflective practice. Some of these may include:⁠

1. Evaluating own performance⁠
2. Developing self-awareness⁠
3. Monitoring potential for burnout⁠
4. Ensuring adequate self-care⁠

There are a number of strategies that can be implemented to assist you in monitoring and/or improving the way you conduct your counselling sessions. Here are a few examples:

1. Self evaluation
This is the process of reflecting on your own skills, your professional strengths and limitations. Awareness in these areas will enable you to choose professional development or training activities to fill any identified skill or knowledge gaps. Self-awareness of this nature will also enable you to identify clients that are beyond your scope of expertise and will ensure that you refer responsibly.

2. Client feedback
Providing client with the opportunity to review the counseling process can be tremendously beneficial for both counsellor and client alike. Not only does it acknowledge the client’s opinion as valid and valued, it also provides an opportunity for the counsellor to evaluate his or her current approach and adjust or continue accordingly.

3. Peer review
Peer review enables counsellors to come together and discuss individual cases, ethical dilemmas and brainstorm intervention options. It is a process that can increase counsellor accountability and improve the quality of service offered to clients (please ensure confidentiality policies are appropriately upheld).

4. Professional supervision
Supervision is an integral part of counseling practice. Within supervision, counsellors can enhance their skill and knowledge base, ensure responsible and ethical practice and monitor their self-care and professional competence. Supervision acts as a mechanism to ensure that a counsellor’s approach is aligned with professional standards and reflects the requirements of the industry.

What are your go-to practices and processes?⁠

Read more here –

Skovholt, T. M. (2001). The resilient practitioner: Burnout prevention and self-care strategies for counselors, therapists, teachers and health professionals. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon

Schon, D. (1983) The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Avebury Press: Aldershot.

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