Developing social work students’ self-reflection skills in theoretical courses

Violeta Ivanauskienė, Nijolė Liobikienė


Social work is an interaction between two personalities: a social worker and a client. It becomes important for a social worker not only to identify client’s qualities, needs, and life experience but also to know and understand himself/herself better.
The article analyses the possibilities and challenges of reflection writing method used in theoretical social work courses. The purpose of writing reflections is to help students to look at themselves in their learning process, trying to recognize and express their feelings, and also to train field notes writing skills. Expressing feelings is extremely important for developing emphatic skills necessary in social work. Teacher’s individual comments are very important: they empower the students to express their real feelings, not what they think the teacher might expect them feel. Reflections also help to strengthen relations between a student and a teacher.
Phases of reflection writing (beginning, revealing, integration, evaluation, termination) are described. Students’ difficulties to express their feelings and challenges for the teacher (risk to be cruised, importance of confidentiality and objectivity) are discussed. Reflections help students to know themselves better and give more opportunities to self-realization and they help teachers to know students better.
Thus, reflection writing in theoretical courses is a significant method enabling students to integrate theoretical knowledge and their practical experience in order to be helpful for a client.


self-reflection; reflection writing; empathy; confidentiality

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789