Nebraska Center on Reflective Practice

The Nebraska Center on Reflective Practice (NCRP) provides training, mentoring, consultation, and evaluation to individuals and organizations in need of reflective practice.

The human service and early childhood workforce is engaged in work that is both rewarding and taxing. The emotionally intrusive nature of the work often leads to high rates of vicarious trauma, stress and burnout - all of which affect the quality of services provided by an organization. Reflective practice assists in mitigating the effects of the emotionally intrusive nature of the work by helping individuals examine their current and past actions, emotions, experiences, and responses in order to evaluate their work performance and learn to improve in the future. Reflective practice promotes a workplace culture of collaboration and accountability.

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What does NCRP offer?

The Nebraska Center on Reflective Practice (NCRP) provides an in-depth training and consultation program for organizations committed to infusing reflective practice into their work. NCRP utilizes the Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN) model developed by the Erikson Institute.

The reflective practice training program prepares and supports practitioners during all stages of the process of implementing reflective practice:

  • Pre-training consultation and implementation planning
  • In-depth training
  • Post training mentoring and consultation
  • Model fidelity monitoring
  • Evaluation

Contact Jamie Bahm to learn more about reflective practice training program at 402-472-3315 or jamie.bahm@unl.edu

Stages of the process of implementing reflective practice

Reflective practice training has been a huge asset to my daily work. It has helped me connect with my staff not only through their teaching practices but also through a personal level. Using the FAN I am able to meet the needs of my staff exactly where they are and relate to them in ways I haven’t before. I was able to adapt the techniques I learned in the training to create a positive approach to reflective supervision.

Brittany Stansberry, Early Childhood Education Coordinator

The Nebraska Center on Reflective Practice partners with a network of consultants and staff to facilitate reflective consultation to individuals or groups of people within an organization. Reflective practitioners help attendees examine his or her past actions, emotions, experiences, and responses to better understand the context of their work. Additionally, reflective consultation aims to enhance team collaboration and cohesiveness by promoting an environment of mutual respect and shared understanding.

Reflective practice consultation groups typically occur on a bi-weekly basis and consist of up to six people per group. Reflective practice consultation groups can be composed of supervisor/employee teams or peer teams.

Reflective practice consultation complements existing supervision models by helping attendees focus on the emotional content of the work.

Contact Jamie Bahm to learn more about reflective practice consultation program at 402-472-3315 or jamie.bahm@unl.edu

A group of people sitting around a table

Reflective practice consultation has helped me to be able to recognize my biases towards continuing to approach my practice in the way I always have. In other words, it has enabled me to recognize that I function from a level of comfort and habit that is almost unconscious. It has also enabled me to recognize that I need to separate myself from my emotional responses to stressful situations and to be able to begin to see when those situations are arising and note by response.

Janine Ucchino, Attorney

The Nebraska Center on Reflective Practice maintains a community of practice for individuals who have completed the reflective practice training program. These reflective practitioners will have access to a list serv which will provide them with the latest literature and resources for reflective practice, as well as a connection to the other reflective practitioners around the state. Community of practice meetings provide attendees with booster sessions to continue to develop and refine their reflective practice skills as well as an opportunity to connect with NCRP trainers and other reflective practice trained professionals.

Download Community of Practice flyer

Contact Jamie Bahm to learn more about community of practice at 402-472-3315 or jamie.bahm@unl.edu

Individuals receiving a booster session training.

Staying connected to your FAN colleagues is one of the best ways to sustain your practice. The Community of Practice offers advanced training concepts as well as rich networking.

Linda Gilkerson, PhD. Professor. Director, Irving B. Harris Infant Studies Program. Executive Director, Fussy Baby Network Graduate School in Child Development

What are the benefits of reflective practice?

Infusing reflective practice into an organization creates a parallel process which benefits front-line professionals, management, and the organization.

Organization

  • Relationship based approach to human services work which can create a ripple effect of collaboration and mutual-respect throughout an organization1
  • Strengthen program quality2
  • Creates of a culture shift from an environment of reacting to responding
  • Prevents conceptual drift from the organization’s mission3
  • Provides a strong foundation for trauma-informed work

Management

  • Leaders learn how to become attuned to the emotional content of the work
  • Increase staff confidence and competence4
  • Build staff reflective capacity5
  • Handle staff issues more effectively6
  • Promote open communication
  • Learn to utilize a blended model of supervision where leaders can hold program expectations and standards, while simultaneously addressing the complex inter-personal nature of the work6

Front-line Employees

  • Strengthens individual competencies, such as: enhance critical thinking skills, promote appropriate emotional regulation and reflection, enhance professional identity and career development, and heightened personal accountability7
  • Provides a safe space for professionals to work through stressful and/or traumatic experiences in order to mitigate the negative effects of the emotionally intrusive nature of their work.
  • Allows for the emergence of social and cultural context within their work


Reflective practice creates a parallel process within organizations which empowers management to enhance their support for the front-line employees.



As a supervisor, reflective practice has enabled me to be more intentional in my supervision with my staff, as a result we are able to accomplish more in a shorter time period. I am able to recognize both my strengths and weaknesses in my supervision sessions and am able to better support my staff and meet their needs.

Tracey Kock, Child Welfare Supervisor
  • 1Heffron, M.C., and Murch, T. Reflective supervision and leadership in infant and early childhood programs. Zero to Three, Washinton, D.C., 2010.
  • 2, 4, 5Gilkerson, Linda. “Fussy Baby Network Supervisor FAN.” 2010. Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL., 2017.
  • 3, 7Gilkerson, Linda. “The FAN as a Framework for Supervision and Consultation” Erikson Institute, 2018, PowerPoint Slides.
  • 6Gilkerson, L., and Cochran Kopel, C. “Relationship-based Systems Change: Illinois’ Model for Promoting Social-Emotional Development in Part C Early Intervention.” Herr Research Center, Erikson Institute. Occasional Paper, Number 5, 2005.
  • 8Gilkerson, L., and Shahmoon-Shanok, R. “Relationships for growth: Cultivating reflective practice in infant, toddler, and preschool programs.” The WAIMH Handbook of Infant Mental Health, edited by J. D. Osofosky and H. Fitzgerald, New York: Wiley, 2000, pp. 33-79.

What we have found so far?

Results from our pilot sample have shown that participation in reflective practice has a positive impact on professionals.

Professionals’ use of reflective practice as a coping mechanism to deal with their work-related stress significantly increased throughout their participation.
Professionals who relied on reflective practice more often had significantly lower levels of depersonalization and turnover intentions than professionals who relied on reflective practice less often.
Professionals who relied on reflective practice more often had marginally lower levels of vicarious trauma than professionals who relied on reflective practice less often.
Professionals' self-reflective ability had a marginally significant increase throughout their participation in reflective practice.

We've gotten some positive initial results from our training program. Watch the video below to learn more!



Who will benefit from reflective practice?

The relationship-based approach for reflective practice can be used across disciplines and systems of care, including:

  • Child welfare professionals, including caseworkers, attorneys, judges, family support workers
  • Early childhood professionals
  • Home visitors
  • Mental health professionals
  • Educators and support staff
  • Human service professionals
  • Medical professionals
  • First responders
  • Community support staff

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