Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Wondering Together: The virtue of reflective practices

Consultative Stance
In their recent book,
Mental Health Consultation in Child Care, Johnston and Brinamen (2006) capture the principles and practices of the consultative stance essential for the collaborative and capacity building elements of early childhood mental health consultation. They describe the consultative stance as a "way of being" that highlights the mutual responsibilities and "shared endeavor" of the consultant and the staff, caregivers, or family members. By "wondering together", the consultant assists caregivers in understanding a child’s behavior and participating in changes that may promote, prevent, or intervene in the social emotional development or challenging behavior of young children. The consultative stance helps those involved with the child to explore their understanding of the child and family and consider new information or ideas. Through patience, perspective, and reflective learning, consultants use their relationships with the caregivers to build the capacity of the caregivers so that they can become empathic and responsive to a child in new and effective ways.
I presented at the Head Start Conference at Fort Worden this year on "Case Consultation to Support Reflective Practice in Home Visitation" to an audience of mostly Early Head Start homevisitors. Reflective practice sounds so mysterious, but it really is "wondering together." In EHS there is a commitment to line staff having the benefit of reflective supervision. Interestingly, in my faith community we come together for Reflection Meetings every three months. Reflective practises are widespread outside of the EHS community and are widely practiced within the human community. How many societies gather aroud a fire to wonder together before coming to make collective decisions? Wonder together is what we do as well at the Pennisulas Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation group meetings. -gw

Practices Associated with the Consultative Stance

  • Observing
  • Understanding different perspectives
  • Identifying and accepting feelings
  • Information gathering
  • Acknowledging and valuing the experience of others
  • Sharing ideas clearly
  • Soliciting ideas from others
  • Developing hypotheses in collaboration
  • Avoiding the "expert" posture
  • Encouraging reflection  
  • Building on relationships
  • Supporting step-by-step change, enduring set-backs, and holding out hope
  • (Adapted from Johnston & Brinamen, 2006)

    Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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