Those who work in health, education and social care are faced with increasing challenges in the complexity of their practice and the context in which they operate. Critical reflection provides a theoretical approach to help understand these challenges as well as a process for engaging constructively with the dilemmas and issues that inevitably arise in professional practice. Essentially, critical reflection encourages practitioners to identify the underlying assumptions and values that influence their practice and to consider how they can act in line with their preferred assumptions and values. Being able to name these most deeply held values reminds practitioners of the underlying or fundamental reasons for their participation in this kind of practice. This, in itself, can be restoring and energizing as well as challenging and sometimes even painful. The sense of working from fundamental values reinforces the integrity inherent for practitioners in their practice or what they might name as the meaningful or spiritual dimension. Practitioners have affirmed that a critically reflective approach frequently grounded and centred them, taking them to a place where they were reminded of their sense of altruism and hope about their work. While this did not necessarily resolve the dilemmas of practice, it frequently enabled practitioners to engage more actively with them, seeing new perspectives and possibilities for change either for themselves or in their practice.
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