Jean M. Germain
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Using journal writing to promote reflective practice
in the counseling practicum: A multiple-case, narrative study of counselor
Dr. Mary Anderson, Chair
Dr. Kelly McDonnell
Dr. Laura Spielvogel
Dr. Edward Trembley
Date: Thursday, May 22, 2003, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The present study investigates the development
of reflective practice for beginning counselors. A review of the literature
provides support for the benefits of counselors developing reflective
practice at all stages of development, and for the use of tools such
as portfolios and written journals in order to assist counselors in
the development of reflection. However, because these tools have not
been systematically implemented and investigated in the counselor development
literature, little is known about how counselors, especially beginning
counselors, develop reflective practice.
A qualitative methodology is used in order to examine the process of
development in depth. Methods were employed to achieve trustworthiness
of the data. Four participants completed this study, which involved
two interviews with the researcher and semester-long journal writing
experience. The researcher provided intermittent feedback on the journals
in order to assist participants with the development of reflection.
A narrative analysis of the data generated three collective content
themes, four individual content themes, and three collective process
themes describing the development of reflective practice. The participants'
narratives of their development are constructed in their own words.
The researcher herself became part of the narratives of these counselor
trainees and maintained a researcher journal throughout the process,
which yielded some unexpected findings about the researcher/participant
relationship. These unexpected findings are also detailed.
This study provides support for the notion that the cultivation of reflective
practice for personal and professional development is important for
beginning counselor trainees. This research also demonstrates the use
of written journals as a useful tool for counselors' development of
reflective practice. This study contributes to the counselor development
literature in that it is the only known study to investigate in depth
the process of reflective practice in counselor trainees as it unfolds.
Finally, the discussion explores implications for counselor training,
counselor development, and future research.
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