Foundation House, VIC, Melbourne, Australia
Reflective practice groups are widely used in the health and community services sector, recognising the relational nature of the work and importance of relationships to achieving successful outcomes. Reflective Practice aims to foster more reflective staff and organisations, and support staff to mitigate the impact of their work.
This paper outlines the work of Foundation House Professional Organisational Development Team’s (POD) approach to Reflective Practice in design, delivery and evaluation as it is applied to workforces, including volunteers and staff from refugee- backgrounds.
We use inquiry based learning models to strengthen staff’s reflection capacity and help locate themselves in the work, which ultimately leads to improved support of people from refugee backgrounds.
Our approach draws on existing theoretical and conceptual models, and is grounded in the Foundation House Frameworks for Recovery and Community Capacity Building, as well as the POD approach to professional development The POD team has an ongoing commitment to process-based reflection, including participation in our own Reflective Practice. This process approach includes documentation of the team’s collective ethics and principles, informed by the work of Vikki Reynolds and participatory action research methodology.
Providing meaningful and flexible Reflective Practice amidst ever changing policy contexts, funding constraints and organisational change, has posed a major challenge.
The distinction between reflective practice, reflective supervision, debriefing and supervision is often unclear. A key challenge for POD has been identifying what we do and communicating this to organisations.
POD’s experience reinforces the need for reflective practice facilitators to hold expertise in both group facilitation skills and practice understanding of the legacy of organised violence in socio-political contexts. Implications for facilitator recruitment and development will be discussed, along with monitoring and evaluation frameworks that are sufficiently flexible to tailor our approach as needed