Background: Reflective Consultation (or Reflective Supervision) is a model of professional support and development for practitioners working with families and young children who, in many cases, are facing multiple stressors. Designed to bring principles of Infant Mental Health to non-mental health practitioners, this model is now widely used in several federally funded, evidence-based programs. Despite its growing utilization, there exists little empirical research examining the implementation, essential elements of the model, or its impact on practitioners or clients. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore one model of Reflective Consultation as experienced by a group of early childhood practitioners and to contribute their voices and perspectives to the growing body of research. Methods: Qualitative research methods were used to answer the research question: how do early childhood interventionists experience the Reflective Consultation Program? Practitioners who had participated in Reflective Consultation for one year or more were invited to participate and fifteen agreed. Semi-structured interviews were audiotaped and analyzed for both variable and comparative case-based themes. Results: Variable-based analysis showed that most practitioners experienced an iterative process of release, reframe, refocus, and respond as part of their ongoing participation in the Reflective Consultation program. Participants described a shift between feeling helpless, hopeless, and overwhelmed by the stressors their clients faced to feeling a greater sense of self-efficacy in being able to better refocus and respond to the needs of their clients. A comparative, cased-base analysis raised questions about for whom and under what circumstances the program may be most beneficial, for example, based on the professionals' tolerance for discussion and reflection on emotions, or the characteristics of the agency or existing supervision. Participants described the incorporation of the reflective processes they had experienced in the large group into their smaller team meetings and peer conversations.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2014. Major: Social Work. Advisor: Wendy Haight. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 180 pages.
A Qualitative Study Exploring Early Childhood Interventionists' Experiences of Ongoing Participation in a Reflective Consultation Program.
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