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Enabling Culturally Sensitive Career Counseling through Critically Reflective Practice: The Role of Reflective Diaries in Personal and Professional Development

  • Barbara Bassot
Chapter
Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the use of reflective diaries in the training and professional development of career counselors, in particular the role of diary writing in relation to developing the skills of client-centered, empathic, nonjudgemental career counseling. The use of reflective diaries in the training and development of student counselors in the UK is discussed, especially the findings from a small scale study which showed how some students found the process of diary writing helpful in their development. A range of relevant theoretical models of reflection are introduced. There has been a move from early discussions of reflective practice focused on action and continuous improvement to more recent theoretical perspectives of critically reflective practice where counselors are encouraged to reflect at a deeper level in order to consider their emotional responses to situations and become aware of their assumptions in relation to their professional practice.

I then use the reflective diary that I kept during my time in India as a case study to illustrate a number of the theoretical models discussed in the chapter. Following data analysis, four key themes are highlighted from the diary entries: assumptions, contrasts, constants, and similarities. I present an evaluation of the experience of reflective diary writing and the application of reflective diary writing to counselor training and development. The capacity of reflective diary writing in enabling perspective transformation is emphasized, particularly in encouraging counselors to challenge their assumptions and the things they take for granted. Such a process enables career counselors to keep the client and their worldview at the center and simultaneously aim for greater counselor neutrality and cultural sensitivity. The chapter includes a template for reflective diary writing as a practical tool for those who would like to engage in the process of critical reflection of their practice. The chapter is concluded with an encouragement to those who have not yet tried reflective diary writing to set aside a small amount of time for this activity and begin to reap some of the rewards it can offer.

Keywords

Professional Practice Diary Entry Reflective Practice Career Counseling Student Counselor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Career and Personal DevelopmentCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

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