Using Self Reflection to Guide and Improve Your Practice in the New Year

Self-reflection is such an important tool to add to our toolkit in continuing to develop and improve our clinical skills and sessions with our clients. To learn more about Self Reflection and how it can be applied overall to clinical practice, refer to a previously written article linked here.

As we enter the new year and the second half of the school year for many, it is a great time to reflect on the past couple of months of the start of the school year. Reflect on what went well during sessions, the growth the students made, the obstacles that impacted the growth, and some things that could’ve gone better. After you reflect and decide on the strengths and weaknesses of your clinical practice for the start of the school year, it is time to make a place on how to capitalize on the strengths and improve the weaknesses. Below are some action ideas to help make a plan to improve your practice for the remainder of the school year.

Focus on one area of improvement

What is one core area that you feel as a clinician you really need to improve during the new year? Is it organization, is it using effective and evidence-based practices, is it documentation, or IEP writing? Whatever the core area is, focusing on just one area makes it more manageable and ensures that you will devote the time and resources to actually improving upon this area. Once you decide what core area is your focus, develop and implement an action plan or ideas and ways you are going to improve this area through the new year and the second half of the school year. REMEMBER: It is important to only focus on ONE core area and make it manageable. As school-based clinicians, we already have so much on our plate. Making it manageable makes it reachable and practical.

Creating a Vision

To guide your next year of growth, make a vision statement for yourself. Where do you want to go this year with your career and clients? This can tie into your area of improvement or be different, including the path you want to take or explore this year. This assists in making you more goal driven and directed in your career. A good way to create a vision is to ask yourself “where are you now?” and “where do you want to go?” Maybe your vision is to increase vocabulary and core word use within the classroom and with clients or it could be to increase parent involvement in assisting with carryover. Whatever your personal vision may be, ensure it is something you are willing to follow through with and it is something that will guide you through the year.

Capitalize on Strengths

During your initial reflection, it is important to find things that went well and the areas of strength in your clinical practice and career. As we know with working with clients, it is very important to capitalize on strengths. This is true within yourself as well. Once you figure out what areas of strength you have, it is time to make a plan on how you can capitalize on them, refine them to make them better, and develop plans to assist in the areas of need as well. Make a plan on how you can use your areas of strength to make all of your tasks more manageable and less time-consuming. For example, if one of your areas of strength is organization, you can capitalize on this to ensure you have an organization system for data and progress monitoring to ensure that progress report writing is less dreadful and time-consuming.

The new year is always a great time for a fresh start, but it is an even better time to do some self-reflection and projection for the upcoming year and the rest of the school year. Our goal as clinicians is to continue to improve our practice as well as refine out processes to make it the best we possibly can. The step in the right direction is starting with self-reflection.

 

Author: Paul D’Imperio, M.S., CCC-SLP

 

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