Guidelines For Reflective Articles

Guidelines for writing reflective articles

There has been an increase in the numbers of reflective articles submitted to the PSIGE Newsletter for consideration of publication. The quality of submissions varies and it seems timely to clarify what would be expected of this genre of paper in order for it to be accepted for publication in the Newsletter.

  1. Identify a current issue and how this may be of relevance to the readers. 
    For example,
    “there is a move toward services becoming ‘ageless’ which has implications for clinical psychologists specialising in working with older people.”
  2. Discuss the historical and legislative factors that contextualise the issue
    For example,
    “there is a poor history of specialist services being provided for older people despite the development of initiatives such as the National Framework for older people. Ironically, the move to combining working age and older adult services comes at a time when issues specific to older people are in the forefront (e.g. National Dementia Strategy etc.).”
  3. Explain what aspect of this issue you will be discussing
    For example,
    “I am concerned that the training and experience base currently held by new therapists (e.g. IAPT workers or trainees who have not had specialist Older Adult placements) may not equip them to deal with issues brought by older generations.”
  4. Explain your interest in this area
    For example,
    “I am a Clinical psychology trainee with experience in my training and in assistant posts in working age services. I am currently on my Older Adult placement, being one of only 4 in my cohort lucky enough to get a specialist placement. My experience suggests that working age services are not currently equipped to deal with the complexity of needs presented by older people.”
  5. Discuss, with reference to your own experience, what issues have arisen for you and how you feel they may generalise/ be of interest to others
    For example,
    “In my first experience of therapy with an older person, I found he referred a lot to the losses in his life. I was surprised at my response – I had always assumed that loss was a normal part of growing older, and had not considered that the impact would be so intense in someone in their 70’s. Luckily, my supervisor was experienced in this area, and we explored my surprise in the context of my client’s experience of the world – a world that makes assumptions about the ‘normality’ of loss of friends, family, independence and of functioning.”
  6. Discuss the implications of your experience for your client, your own learning, or for your service i.e. how does your reflection add to what we already know? How can we use it?
    For example,
    “We agreed in supervision that my comments could be usefully fed back to managers in the Older Person’s directorate as a way of illustrating the case for specialist therapy services. I was able to use my experience to inform my casework by asking my client about how he thought others viewed his losses. He believed he was not listened to, that others did not appreciate the losses he had experienced. Sharing this feeling with family members who were close to him was the basis of therapeutic change in our time together.”