“The essence of all true wisdom: know thyself”
“None of the observations we make on others are nearly as interesting as those we make on ourselves.” (Samuel Hahnemann, The Organon, 141a)
Self-reflection is a process of observing what happens at work or at home, investigating it in order to understand it and making appropriate changes for the future. It is an ongoing practice of refinement, made up of small steps and can take place in a variety of ways. It needs a dedicated time, an attitude of honest enquiry, and a way of recording findings so they can be referred back to.
It is used by those in the helping professions to become better at their work and it is part of their CPD (continuous professional development). But anyone can use it who wants to get to know themselves better. It can be done with another person like a life coach, critical friend or supervisor; and it can be done on your own in a reflective journal.
Learning the tools of effective self-reflection
I am offering a unique opportunity for you to improve your skills of self-reflection by working with me for four or eight weeks. You simply write a journal entry every week and send it to me for feedback. You can write about your work, your relationships or yourself. If you are an alternative practitioner or work in a caring profession, you can write about the therapeutic relationship. If you are aware of some of your stuck issues, you can explore them at a deeper level.
Endorsement of my work
I found Jane’s challenges and observations on my journal issues very helpful because she highlights and clarifies the actual problem/issue and then suggests how to go about dealing with it. I found that she had a wide variety of different thoughts, ideas, techniques and skills to further this. These enabled me to use resources which had become dormant in me and resources I didn’t know I had – it was great to have Jane’s strong and objective but gentle perspective to help me. Thank you for everything.
Please consider everything expressed on this page and the rest of the website as my opinion only. The blog is developed from my self reflective journal. I am not liable for any perceived changes in your well-being after reading material on this website. The drawings have been taken from my books. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know me through this website.
These are my suggestions for effective journal writing:
Choose an attractive format – choose a notebook or format for writing that feels good for you. Many find it quicker to type than write, but a handwritten journal will allow you to include drawings, diagrams, mind maps, charts or cut and paste from e-mails.
Use it often – get in the habit of writing/creating regularly, even if it is brief. Like any muscle that hasn’t been exercised for a while, your writing may be slow and stiff at first. Make journal entries a part of your routine.
Work with freedom – everything you choose to work with is okay, so don’t impose rules on yourself and don’t be shy. Follow your intuition and choose whatever style of writing, creating or developing your journal that suits you. Some people enjoy the formality of a reflective framework, such as Gibbs (1988), but others bring their full creativity into self-reflection.
Dare to go – have the courage to explore parts of your inner self that you haven’t examined before. Work with depth, honesty and openness.
Watch out for your inner judge – your inner judge always wants to criticise you and put you down. It focuses on what has gone wrong. To counteract it, remember to congratulate yourself on what goes well. Note down past and present achievements to cheer yourself up on low days.
Watch out for your inner justifier – your inner justifier always wants you to be in the right. It cannot find fault with you and prefers to blame the other person. But you will learn far more about yourself if you admit you might have been wrong, and explore why – in the privacy of your journal.
Keep what you write or create – even the most important discoveries about yourself can be easily forgotten, and brief entries may contain seeds that germinate later.
Date every entry – dating each entry really helps when you are rereading your journal. You will be able to see patterns of where you get stuck, and where you have energy and flow.
Have fun – include things that make you laugh and lift your spirits.
Be kind to yourself – remember to record what you did well, and celebrate your successes. This will consolidate good practice. Use the journal to learn from your mistakes, so that it contributes towards your self-development and self-care. Soothe yourself when things go wrong, like a parent soothes a baby.