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on 21 June 2016
I treasure this book and recommend it widely - as a reference to the origins of ideas, as source material for workshop exercises, as a means to hold myself and my professional practice to account. I don't think it bears hurried reading and my first impatient approach was less rewarding than when I paused periodically, tried things out and came back after some time. Participants on the professional development programs I facilitate are familiar with much of its contents - personal journaling, the six minute write and the idea of the unsent letter are among many ideas I have shared with executives who in turn have integrated them into their daily practices. I think it rare to come across a book that is as erudite and accessible as this. The author is widely read herself and able to draw on a broad variety of ideas and disciplines so that this is a colourful read. Ultimately however, I rate this book highly because of what it makes possible for me and others, enabling us to know ourselves more deeply and to shoulder the ethical responsibility of an imperfect reflective practice.
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on 19 August 2015
Useful book, quick delivery.
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on 1 October 2015
I didn't find this book as useful as expected after such a promising title (there is not that much on the market regarding reflective practice) and positive reviews (the book was recommended to me by a colleague).

I found it difficult to trawl through the multiple references which break up the flow, and make the book look more like an academic paper than a book. I was hoping to exercise my reflective skills and develop them as a clinician, but rather found lots of dates and names which made each paragraph difficult to read, and there was no advice on how to apply principles to my practice. I was searching for some individualism, and personal reflections as an example of how I could become reflective, but rather found a systemic review of data.

So as a summary it would probably be good if I was an academic, and wanting a review of literature, or a student wanting to write an essay. But not useful for me as a clinician wanting to apply reflective principles to her practice. It was not practical at all, nor was it uplifting, nor did I find anything new within it.

"assessment is a complex moral and ethical act" (p174)
"supervision has been called a 'signature pedagogy'" supervision is formative (educative), restorative (supportive), and normative... (p58)
"explorative writing was recommended as early as 1823. This started Freud on a method to further his own understanding... to illustrate this he repeated a current story about a Sunday rider: where are you going? .. Ask the horse.... This required concentration likened by one student to a long refreshing swim... we had all disappeared from her consciousness (p118).

Sorry, but if you're a GP and just want simple language that is accessible to you, this book is not it.
I simply couldn't grasp it and I'm not a better clinician having read it.
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on 6 July 2016
I first read the 3rd edition of this book six years ago when I was writing the dissertation for my MA. It was the first time that I had read a book on reflection from cover to cover. It was like a novel that I couldn't put down! The description of through the mirror reflection really struck a chord with me, so much so that I chose clinical reflection as the topic for my thesis.

This fourth edition did not disappoint and has been a huge inspiration to my personal teaching practice. The six minute writes have become a favourite activity for my students, which will have undoubtedly benefited the development of not only themselves but the patients they come into contact with on a daily basis.

I also found the chapter on Assessment and Evaluation extremely insightful, in particular the discussion regarding the moral and ethical use of reflection as an assessment artifact. Which is complemented by practical suggestions for navigating this tricky area of reflective practice.

If you haven't taken the time to read this book, I strongly suggest you do so.
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on 7 January 2016
I am sorry but this book is - for me - really painful to read through. I tried it over and over again. I skipped chapters and tried reading it with a fresh pair of eyes, so to speak. I just couldn't get through its concrete, cement like wall of words. In the end, it actually annoyed me so much I've given up on it. Monotonous, dull, repetitive. I am sorry - I know how much work the author must have put into it and I respect and admire. It's just not for me...
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on 19 March 2016
"Reflective practice" as commonly applied has been reduced to a simple "what went well? What went less well? How will your practice change? You can now tick the box" Gillies Bolton's approach goes far beyond this - helping people on the front line to develop through writing a way of dealing with the real world that will develop them as professionals and strengthen them as people - and to enjoy the process. Although lot of the book will be particularly helpful for those involved in training and mentoring there is enough here for someone wanting to try reflective writing to get themselves going. I only wish there had been something like this round when I began life as a GP : it would have spared me so much struggle !
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on 19 February 2001
Reflecting on what we do is supposed to lead to wisdom, and professionals in a number of different fields have been encouraged to do this for some years. The results for individuals have been mixed - it is easy to go over a difficult incident in your mind without actually finding any new ways forward. Gillie Bolton's book offers a better way. Written out of the experience of running workshops on reflective writing for a wide variety of professionals, the book offers techniques for turning professional experience into story or even poetry, and in the process coming to terms with the emotional demands of professional practice.
The image of Alice going through the looking glass runs through this book. Alice found herself in a world where every thing was as different as possible, and Gillie Bolton introduces the reader to ways to make the familiar strange, and in doing so, to see ways in which we can change it in future.
This book is readable, scholarly, and inspiring. It is a book both for professionals in training and for those who are experienced and needing ways in which to cope with the realities of their calling - the shortage of time and resources, the bureaucratic demands, the limits to what they can do for their students, clients or patients. The image of the exhausted GP at the end of a long day reaching into the bottom drawer of her desk is one which will resonate with many professionals thinking wearily that there has to be a better way. She takes out, not a bottle of pills, but a pad of paper and a pencil, and begins to write. If you work in the caring professions, or have friends who do, buy this book. It could save someone's sanity.
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on 14 April 2009
I think this book captures the value of writing and reflecting across different practices and is particularly suited to counselling practice. It highlights things like artistry, poetry and metaphor in a field more generally associated with scientific principles. It was easy to read, refreshing and thought provoking.
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on 27 March 2016
This is a book that for me just keeps on giving.I own the first edition of this book and have returned to it many times to "write myself" through situations I have found myself both professionally and personally. The addition of the website material in this later edition just makes a good book even better as it further brings to life the process of reflective writing the author is guiding us through. In order to really benefit from and understand the wisdom that this book imparts,I would recommend "just do it"...take one of the suggested exercises and just write.It doesn't need to be a time consuming exercise -10 minutes can help you to reflect and process in a way that thinking about it just can't. This is a book that has offered me different treasures at different times in my life and career. I am at another "fork in the road" of my personal and professional life at the moment and am already returning to the methods this book imparts to help me reflect on "what next".
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on 14 April 2016
This book is a great resource! I’ve used Gillie’s methods in my own professional practice, and more importantly with clergy in the first years of their parish ministry. The book offers a step by step introduction to a methodology which is easy to follow and keeps you challenged – you really do need to do the exercises to appreciate the depth, imagination and wisdom being shared here. The exercises work as individual reflections, but really come to life when shared in groups. My curate colleagues speak about how the methodology enables them to get below the skin of their early experiences in ministry and exposes some challenging material for their group work. The variety of the exercises offers something to individuals across a range of personality preferences and learning styles, and which ought to be applicable across a huge range of disciplines. I now find myself reaching for Gillie’s exercises not only to take time out to reflect but also as a problem solving tool.
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