Author: Yeung, Yee-yu
Title: Enhancing critical reflection in psychiatric rehabilitation : an exploratory study of reflective writing and co-reflection
Degree: DSW
Year: 2014
Subject: Mental illness -- Rehabilitation -- China -- Hong Kong.
Mental health services -- China -- Hong Kong.
Mental illness -- Treatment -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: ix, 275 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: The discussion of and research on reflection and reflective practice have been prevalent ever since the seminal work of Donald Schon (1983). There are numerous empirical studies conducted on reflective writing and reflective practice in the teaching and nursing professions, but relevant studies in social work are severely lacking. This exploratory study is an attempt to fill this research gap, and emerges from a basic premise that critical reflection and co-reflection are important for mental health practitioners in their professional practice. The objectives of the study are to investigate reflective writing, and co-reflection in enhancing critical reflection by mental health practitioners in a psychiatric halfway house in Hong Kong. The use of journal writing in promoting enhanced practice in mental health practitioners is found to be positive and effective. However, an "inspiration problem" is identified as a challenge of reflective writing. Social work as an oral mode of practice (Tsang, 2007a) makes the participants fluent and sophisticated in orality than in literacy. There are little 'surprise' and 'discomfort' for expert practitioners to trigger reflection, and their 'knowing-in-action' (Schon, 1983) make them unable to describe it explicitly. A self-imposed 'taboo' is found to be evident in some participants who are afraid of writing deep personal reflections. Reflective writing is recommended to incorporate in clinical supervision in enhancing professional practice, which is seen as a platform to sustain and develop reflective practice in mental health practitioners. The effects of co-reflection in a psychiatric halfway house are affirmative. No preference is identified between two approaches of co-reflection, namely, case meeting and journal discussion. An issue of critical reflectivity is correlated with a socio-cultural factor of face-related behaviours. The participants tended to be modest and 'polite' in articulation and discussion, with an implicit motive to keep a good working relationship and cohesiveness in the reflecting group. The probability of occurrence of 'face-saving' behaviours is high in a group with good mutual working relationship. A proposal of Chinese-style co-reflection is suggested upon the study findings. Further studies on the implicit influence of face-related behaviours to co-reflection in Chinese socio-cultural context are recommended. The feasibility study on Chinese-style co-reflection deserves to be explored as a research area on collaborative inquiry. The impact of reflective writing in clinical supervision is worthy for research study. An exploration of affective reflectivity of Chinese mental health practitioners would be an interesting research topic.

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