Reflective practice in the art and science of counselling: A scoping review

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Donnalee Taylor, PhD, Senior Lecturer, James Cook University.



In the counselling profession, reflective practice is often touted as an essential characteristic of professional development, growth, and professionalism. Yet there remain countless characterisations of what reflective practice is and how best to do it. The aim of this scoping review was to evaluate over two decades of key reflective practice thinking, exploring its benefits, uses, and research findings in the 21st century. The scoping review process identified 47 peer-reviewed publications, seminal publications, and counselling guidelines, which included both quantitative (often seen as more “scientific”) and qualitative (seen as more “artistic”) research findings. The major themes identified in the reflective practice literature were: reflective purpose, reflective practice, reflective writing, quantitative versus qualitative rationale, therapeutic alliance and research results, reflecting practice in counselling, personal and professional development, counsellor self-care, and ethical guidelines.



reflective practice, ethics, counselling, cultural diversity, therapeutic alliance, self-esteem, burnout, compassion fatigue


Address for correspondence:
Donnalee Taylor