This essay will explore the use of the Gibbs reflective cycle upon the development of therapeutic relationships within health and social care contexts. The Gibbs reflective cycle will be described and applied as a tool to an experience with a patient within health and social care. The Gibbs reflective cycle will then be evaluated for its efficacy and placed in context with the importance of reflective practice within health and social care.
The development of therapeutic relationships in health and social care are important in order to create and maintain a successful, professional relationship between staff and service user. This helps to promote congruence between intervention planning and treatment, increasing the likelihood of success when implementing a treatment or care plan. The Gibbs cycle (Gibbs, 1988) is a tool with which health and social care professionals and employees apply to enable reflective practice within their workplaces. Reflective practice is particularly important in health and social care contexts due to the high frequency and sensitive level of interactions between staff, patients and third parties. Reflective practice is an integral part of health and social care, particularly within nursing care (Bulman and Schutz, 2008).
The Gibbs cycle is frequently used within the National Health Service (NHS) and is utilised as a part of employee supervision to enable the individual to successfully reflect on their experiences. The outcome of these reflections can then be applied to their future practice. Reflection also contributed to continuing professional development (CPD), an integral part of the employee supervision process in the NHS and other health and social care employers. The Gibbs cycle is a particularly effective reflection tool due to its applied analysis of specific experiences, rather than arbitrarily discussing particular skills or strengths. For example, a
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