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WS1006 Self in Professional Helping Guide: Reflective Writing Exemplar

This guide will help WS1006 students complete subject assessment tasks


Warning: This is a past WS1006 critically reflective writing task essay. Assignment task requirements may have changed since this was written, but it continues to provide a good example of what a critically reflective writing task response could look like.

Instructions: Mouse over the text below to see annotations giving explanations and information on the writing process, parts of a blog post, in-text citations and referencing.

An exercise of critial reflection in informal helping

I aim to critically reflect Notice the use of personal pronouns, they are acceptable in reflective writing. They also clearly communicate the purpose of the assignment with the reader. on a situation of informal helpingIdentifies the context/experience the reflection will explore. using a model of reflection developed by Graham Gibbs Clearly articulates the model of reflection selected to analyse the experience.(as cited in Rolfe, Freshwater, & Jasper, 2001) This shows how to cite information you read about in another source. By undertaking a reflection-on-action approach, I can critically can examine my thoughts and emotions during the helping, and therefore uncover the motivations and ideologies behind my behaviour. Moreover, the completion of the critical reflection allowed the development of new ideas in how I can behave differently should a similar situation arise againAA good introduction.
Critical reflection, as described by Fook and Gardner (2012), is a process of examining the foundation of an individual’s beliefs and expectations with the intention to gain insight in the meaning of their behaviour and, in turn, formulate new plans and ideas in how one can react differently to similar situations in the future. Writer clearly demonstrates an important subject concept by offering up a definition. Notice that the definition has been paraphrased, this means the original definition has been communicated through the writer’s own words. Notice that the idea is still referenced according to APA style, however the page number should only be added if it is a direct quote. Additionally, This is an academic word for reporting and connecting ideas. Additionally, is used specifically to introduce additional ideas.reflection-on-action, the name given to the act of reflecting on actions of past experiences (Fitzgerald, as cited in Rolfe et al., 2001), plays a significant part in being able to critically reflect effectively; the successful dissection of the emotions, thoughts and beliefs of an individual’s past action can lead to the development of new knowledge and new understandings of how we make sense of ourselves and the world (Rolfe, Freshwater, & Jasper, 2001). As Rolfe et al. mentions, “…When we reflect on a situation, we don’t merely see more, we see differently” (2001, p.23). The year always comes after the author’s name, so it should be:
As Rolfe et al. (2001) mentions, “…When we reflect on a situation, we don’t merely see more, we see differently” (p.23).
Notice the page number appears at the end of the quote.
. Furthermore Furthermore, is another academic word for reporting and connecting an understanding of one's self isThe writer draws on an important aspect of the task requirement. Refer to the subject outline task description. This task requires you to demonstrate your understanding of the nature and use of critical reflection and ‘self’ in professional helping. critical in the process of helping (Fusco, 2012), be it of a professional or informal nature.



I have chosen to critically reflect on an experience of informal helping that occurred on my way to a lecture at university. As I was pulling up to campus via bus, I noticed a young lady sitting on a bench, crying. I went over to her to introduce myself, to see what was wrong and if I could help in anyway. During that brief conversation, the woman mentioned that she had just received news that her uncle had just passed away that morning, and that she was waiting for her partner to pick her up so she could be with her family. At that point, I decided to wait with her until her partner came because I did not want her to be alone . Notice the overall description of the experience is succinct and to the point. It clearly explains what happened, what was observed and who was involved.
Thank you also for being such a caring and thoughtful human being :)



The experience was initially shocking; I was not expecting that particular cause for her despair, rather I had gone in expecting she failed a piece of assessment or something of the like. Once the shock passed, I experience a great deal of empathy towards her as the situation was very similar to that of the death of my father only a few months before. There was also an element of anger and frustration felt; not at the woman, but the situation



On the whole, I found the situation both rewarding and heartbreaking. I enjoyed being able to assist—albeit in a small way—a matter that I have personally experienced. I felt that I was able to provide support to this woman at time where she felt directionless and alone; with no clear path on how to cope with the sudden turn of events. On the other hand, it was a harsh reminder for the loss I experience months before; in that moment, I remembered my pain, fear, grief, and lack of understanding as to why the person I cared for had to leave me in such a way.



Examination of my thoughts towards helping revealed several key ideologies: Notice the writer applies analysis to the experience by going beyond the description. Examining implications of self in the experience.those in the position of being able to help should do so; and that you do not turn away from those who ask for help. These ideologies shaped my thoughts and actions, ensuring that I provide assistance to the woman who was clearly in need of help.
Moreover, my actions enabled me to provide emotional support not just to the woman, but myself as well. Harms (2005) describes the act of providing emotional support as offering “…validation, opportunities of ventilation, advice, consolation, comfort, or a listening ear” (p. 38). The writer offers insightful and appropriate connections between the experience and key concepts covered in the subject. The use of examples from the literature helps to clearly articulate the role that self plays in both the interpretation of the experience and in professional helping practice.By providing that listening ear and consolation, I was able to not only provide support to the woman, but also validate my sense of self – that my action were right in accordance to my ideologies of the right way to behave in a situation of helping.
Additionally, Yalom (1985) discusses the therapeutic group factors of universality and altruism that helped in understanding why the helping of another provided affirmation of my self-concept. Universality is sense of a unified experience, that one is not unique or alone in a given situation (Yalom, 1985).Additional literature is used to reinforce position being communicated by the writer. And an explicit connection is visible between the reflection of the experience, the literature and sense of self or self concept. As Yalom (1985) explains: “…There is no human deed or thought that is fully outside the experience of other people” (p.8).APA referencing requires that a page number be included in in-text citations for direct quotes – just as you see here. This phenomenon highlights that the woman and I identified that we both have experienced similar circumstances, and as a result can empathize with each other. Moreover, Yalom’s (1985) concept of altruism—a selfless concern for the wellbeing of others - is another phenomenon that assists in the comprehension of why I felt rewarded helping the woman. Reflection reveals that being able to offer support, reassurance and share my own story made me feel useful, that my story could assist another in coming to terms with the situation and that the other is not alone in what they feel. Nicely discussed.
Furthermore, I realised that the anger and frustration did not stem from the woman or the fact I would be late to my lecture; rather it was as a result of all the bystanders who walked passedIncorrect use of the tense, reflections are writeen in past tense the woman who did not stop to ask if she was alright. Why did they not stop? Was the woman’s grief so unimportant to them?In academic writing, it is always superior to present questions as statements. Researchers Darley and Latané (1968) investigated a phenomenon known as “the bystander effect”, referring to an individual’s decreased likelihood of helping when there are other passive passers-by present, notably through an expectation that someone else will respond to the situation. This phenomenon may explain the lack of action on the part of the passers-by; they may have felt that someone else would respond to the woman’s distress which, in retrospect, I did.Yes, but link this more clearly to your analysis of yourself. This is sliding a little into the analysis of others.



Although the experience did elicit a strong emotional response, I feel that I reacted appropriately within my personal code of conduct. I felt that I was obligated to help this woman; that regardless of my own emotions, I could not walk by or leave her to her sadness. This deontological approach, that the right thing to do is determined by duty, rights or obligations (Chenworth & McAuliffe, 2015), reinforces the ideologies that shape my perspective on helping Moreover, A commonly used academic word to introduce additional ideas. Here it is used to reinforce the overall implications and outcome of partaking in the reflective practice and how this may shape professional helping in the future.prior to reflection I considered what happened to my father solely as a negative experience, but I can now use the experience as a way to help another; something that resonates strongly with my ideologies of helping.This is insightful.


Action Plan

Having examined the experience thoroughly, I now understand the processes that influenced my decision to help the way I did. Should a similar circumstance take place my behaviour would be different. Whilst I am pleased in the actions I took, in the future I would ensure that I maintain better control over my emotions; not only for my own mental wellbeing but also for the one I help, as my own emotions may feed to the other and make the situation worse.


ReferencesSome good information sources have been used in this essay. The author is clearly trying hard with his/her APA references and in-text citations – still some work to do to get them right.





This is an excellent paper with a very good demonstration of your understanding of CR and its role in the helping process. You have developed significant insights here and shown an ability to link these to relevant and appropriate literature. There is little else that I can say in the way of critical comment, apart from the small issues mentioned in comments above.
Overall, impressive work, well done.


Grade: High Distinction



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