Assignment 3: Reflective journal

Critically reflect on your development as a therapist and how your professional identity integrates self-understanding. How have the life experiences identified in the first assessment influenced your professional development and strengths and limitations as a therapist? Provide some strategies of how these limitations can be strengthened. Emphasis in this reflective journal will also need to be on the association between self-awareness and the capacity of the therapist to provide effective therapy, accurate empathy, and to practise ethically.

Your reflective journal is to include:

  • critical reflection on your development as a therapist
  • relevant connections drawn between life experiences and professional development and self-understanding
  • identification and evaluation of professional strengths and limitations
  • evaluation of the effectiveness of and the association between the self-awareness of the therapist and the therapists’ provision of effective therapy, accurate empathy and ethical practice
  • identification and analysis of how your increased self-knowledge and insights will influence your future as a therapist
  • reference to relevant literature, linking your reflective journal to theory explored in the unit



If you need help about what to include in your Reflective Journal, there is some guidance below.

However, for the assignment itself, I would encourage you to put your Learning Journal into the Appendix and spend the 1500 words referring to aspects of your journal while you answer what is being directly asked of you in the criteria.

Essentially you are reflecting on your different levels of experience and reflecting on the process (reflexivity).

It has been suggested by another tutor in this unit that it may help to see the assignment as having a three pronged approach:

1)      Reflecting on personal experience

2)      Reflecting on  professional experience

3)      Reflecting on how to make sense of these experiences through the literature

Looking at the criteria for assignment 3

It may be obvious, but I have highlighted what I consider to be essential for this assignment.

identification and evaluation – professional limitations

  • evaluatingeffectiveness and association between the self-awareness of the therapist;  

evaluatingtherapists’ provision of effective therapy, accurate empathy and ethical practice

  • identification and analysisincreased self-knowledge and insights and how these will influence your future as a therapist
  • reference to relevant literature, linking your reflective journal to theory explored in the unit


For this assignment I do not need an introduction or conclusion.

What is a Learning Journal?

A learning journal is often called a reflective journal. It is a steadily growing document that you (the learner) write, to record the progress of your learning. You can keep a learning journal for any course that you undertake, or it may be part of an assessment.

A learning journal is not…

  • Simply a summary of the course material. Focus more on your reactions to what you’ve read, and what you’ve been reading.
  • A learning log. On a learning log you might write down the times and days when you read something. A log is a record of events, but a journal is a record of your reflections and thoughts.

Each time you make an entry into your journal, think back over everything you’ve done since the last time. Which sources did you learn most from? Which did you learn least from, and why was that? (Did you know the material already?) Write a paragraph or two about the sources of your new learning.

Entries in a reflective journal can include:

  • Points that you found specifically interesting in your reading and would like to follow up in more detail.
  • Questions that came up in your mind because of points made in material you read on this topic.
  • After a class or teletutorial (immediately after it, if possible) it’s a good idea to reinforce your learning by trying to remember the main things you learned. Think “What were the three main points that were new to me, in the material I read today?” Write them down without looking at the course notes – then compare them with those notes, to make sure you remembered the points accurately.
  • Notes from other material you read as a result of the course – whether this was publications cited or relevant material that you happened to read (such as newspaper articles).
  • A record of everything you read in this subject area, while you’re doing the course, with a sentence or two on the main points an article was making and how useful you found it.
  • How your learning in this course is related to what you’re learning in other ways.
  • Thoughts that are not yet fully formed but that you want to refine later. This could include your feelings about the topic and your progress in it and theories that are developing in your mind.

Questions that you might want to use and answer as part of your Learning journal:

  • What did I read for this topic (apart from the notes)?
  • What was the most interesting thing I read for this topic – why was that?
  • What were three main things I learned from this topic?
  • What did I previously think was true, but now know to be wrong?
  • What did we not cover that I expected we should?
  • What was new or surprising to me?
  • What have I changed my mind about as a result of this topic?
  • One thing I learned in this topic that I may be able to use in future is…
  • I am still unsure about…
  • Issues that interested me a lot, and that I would like to study in more detail
  • Ideas for action, based on this topic…
  • What I most liked about this topic was…
  • What I most disliked about this topic was…
  • Miscellaneous interesting facts I learned in this topic…                                                                  

 You will get good marks by showing that you’ve been reading widely, and raising issues that flow from that reading, and making it clear that you have been thinking a lot about these issues.



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