The Understanding and Use of Reflection in Family Support Social Work

Jennie Ryding, Emma Sorbring, Inga Wernersson
  • Journal of Social Service Research, June 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/01488376.2018.1476300

The use and importance of reflection in social work

What is it about?

Reflection has long been emphasized as important for human service organizations professions. However, changes in society and the governing of public sector organizations have resulted in a shift in focus, with economic focus, administration, documentation and the measuring of practices being one result, an the implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) another. In turn, another result is a decrease in priority of more "soft" features of practice, like reflection, experience, relationship-based approaches and tacit knowledge, since being difficult to measure and prove its worth. Due to this, we wanted to investigate the role and use of reflection in family support social work for finding out more about practitioners experience and thoughts of reflection in their everyday practice.

Why is it important?

Due to the prevailing changes in society and the public sector, as well as the increased focus on EBP, reflection and reflective practice is in need of highlighting for also promoting its possible benefits. A new understanding of meaning of reflection is needed for making e.g. decision-makers and managers aware of its worth, not only for practitioners but also for the clients. By doing so, reflection can hopefully gain new reputation and considered an essential part of practice, in need of resources.


Jennie Ryding (Author)
University West

Hopefully this article can provide insight into the use of reflection. Not only in social work, but also in other professions due to its capacity and characteristics. Many possibly regard reflection as trivial, intangible, or as something that "everyone do" or simply as being a matter of thinking. However, there is so much more to it as a concept and part of practice, thus in need of highlighting for possible also creating a new understanding of it in where people understand its potential and worth for practice.

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