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“You go in heavy and you come out light”: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of reflective practice experiences in an Irish infant mental health setting

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-31, 13:06 authored by Mary Tobin, Nicola O’Sullivan, Elaine RogersElaine Rogers

Reflective practice (RP) is a core component of infant mental health (IMH); however, there is limited published empirical research on IMH practitioner experiences of RP. This two-stage, qualitative, multimodal study explored Irish IMH practitioners’ experiences of RP spaces. Visual and verbal data from seven individual interviews and a participatory arts-based focus group with seven participants (eight participants in total, all white Irish females) were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five group experiential themes (Just get on with it; What should I be bringing to this space?; Who are my “hands”?; Taking a step back; and You go in heavy and you come out light) were generated by the analysis. These were used to construct a developmental and experien?tial model of learning in an RP space. The themes portray how a practitioner’s RP experience can change over time: influenced by prior experiences and practice development stage, practitioners move from initial uncertainty, anxiety, and perceived pressure in a busy workload to developing the trust and ability to be vulnerable in an RP space. Through relationships (supervisor/facilitator or group members), a shared safe space can be created, which addresses practitioners’ needs for containment, allowing for experiential learning through a process of transformational moments.



Infant Mental Health Journal, 2024


Wiley and Sons Ltd

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  • Psychology

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