It is generally agreed that one of the most effective ways to develop a service as a PIE is to introduce reflective practice (‘RP’) for the staff – and at all levels.
Developments in practice derived from the direct experience of the staff, it is argued, will be more suited to the actual work of any service, and have more real impact.
Instituting RP sessions can also be a very clear and demonstrable way for a service to express a commitment to developing the PIE approach, working from the ground up.
There is less consensus, however, on how far it is therefore necessary – and how effective it may actually be – to make attendance at reflective practice groups mandatory for all staff.
Since the principal aim of RP is to create a culture of enquiry in the services, there is an open question as to whether formal RP groups are necessary at all; or the right means in every situation.
Experience does seem to suggest that rather than confronting resistance head on – as we would clearly not do with service users – it may be helpful to be able to have alternative approaches to suggest.
Some have found it useful to treat RP groups not like therapy sessions, to focus always on uncomfortable issues, but instead as working groups, taking a specific issue to reflect upon; and perhaps to use the PIEs framework to work through each element, one at a time.
An alternative is to take a specific recent incident, but to focus on understanding what seems to have gone well.
There is a whole school of thought – Appreciative Inquiry – that applies a strengths model to staff groups.
But where there is resistance to RP in groups, the PIE lead may often be the one that must set the tone for the whole organisation.
So here it may be valuable to make a space for PIE leads to talk over any difficulties and dilemmas with others. This is precisely the purpose of the PIE leads SIG : HERE