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Testimonials - Reflective Work Discussions (Pilot Sessions)

February - July 2023

BEC piloted reflective practice group sessions with two services in Barnardo’s as part of the co-production process to develop the new offer.

At the end of each session, the groups were invited to reflect upon their time together and share any feedback about the group process and/or any ‘take aways’ from the day.

As well as the monthly sessional feedback, a final feedback form was created at the end of the pilot to capture comments about the attendees’ overall experiences, their recommendations for the future offer and anything else that they feel would be significant to share.

Sessional feedback

Group 1

Today validated my experiences by hearing others who feel similar… It’s been a relaxing session.

I am grateful for the space… Feeling positive. I’m left with a stack of thoughts that I’d like to take away and process with the team.

I value how we trust the process. The session isn’t scripted or rigid.

Time is precious and these sessions can be seen as a luxury. I feel that these sessions are actually a necessity. I feel relaxed and not censored in this space.

It feels so refreshing to be at work and have these conversations. I have felt guilty in the past for having sessions like this but not I’m trying to normalise support and block out time.

I feel staff can’t always be released from duties for sessions like this but wellbeing needs to come first… It’s been a nice session today, it felt authentic and enjoyable.

I value this space and time.

I have enjoyed spending time together today. We’ve aired things out. I wonder where we’ll be next month?

It’s nice to feel comfortable with someone I’ve never met [the facilitator].

It has been a good discussion as usual. I didn’t anticipate how we would use the session today.

Being in this space, it’s like coming home.

Today has been warm and comforting.

These spaces feel familiar now.

Sessional feedback

Group 2

I feel comfort that people feel the same as me.

It is nice to have started this space.

We are all on the same page and as a team we can work through it. We know where each other is at.

It is nice to feel it is a safe space.

I enjoy listening to people’s thoughts and reflections… this is a space to share my own reflections too.

This is another way for us to connect and be together.

I enjoyed listening to others. I will be taking away a lot from today… I’ve made connections to positive and not just negative.

Overall experiences and expectations

Group 1

I had expectations and they were met although it changed shape. There’s been a greater focus on the ending [of the service]. It’s been positive, it was maybe even more important than it might have otherwise been [due to the timing of the pilot].

[comparing to previous experience of group supervision] This felt so much different, so much better, so much more valuable so it was a really positive experience.

The word that comes to my mind is powerful. It’s been a powerful experience. I really appreciated that the whole team could come together. [including the non-therapist]

It has offered an alternative space that we could all come together and see what just came out of it. I think it’s been really valuable to just have that time… I’m aware that time for some organisations is a luxury but I think it’s been absolutely valuable to have it... To think and reflect together as a service.

I’ve found that it [the space] has really held me by having this consistent space and time. It’s been a very positive experience and I think there has been something about you Lucy [the facilitator] and knowing that you know the kind of work we do and one of the ways it’s felt different for me than before to the peer supervision is that I feel like you’re in it with us but you’re also not part of our team so that was useful to have your different perspective but also we’ve got plenty in common with you professionally.

I’ve enjoyed it. I suppose expectations were probably similar to my experiences of reflective practice with therapists, like what we did ages ago [referring to Therapists Hub sessions]. It has been similar but different in the same breath.

It [the space] opened the door to us as people which I think doesn’t happen often enough and I know not everybody likes that kind of thing but I think it’s important especially in a smaller team… And especially during the work we were doing as well, I think it was important to be able to touch base and slow down. You’ve got the option here to take a breath, you don’t have to rush through client A through to D… it’s not just trying to cram it in, it’s a case of take a breath and for me it’s really what it should be.

If you want your team to survive what we’re doing and do the work as best as they can it’s all about looking after the systems isn’t it and I think this process is a big part of it.

It was a positive experience and a safe space to explore and support.

One of the things I think it’s brought me, and maybe others will agree, is a deeper connection to my team because it’s coming here as humans and I’m always moved by the things that my team share and the things that I get to learn about them and you as well Lucy [the facilitator] you’ve shared some stuff too. It is a deeply human experience and that’s been part of what has been valuable, thank you.

Overall experiences and expectations

Group 2

I did not have any expectations as such as I had no previous experience of reflective practice groups so I went into it with a very open mind.

I had no expectations as I had not been part of something like this before. I am unsure if I gained anything from it, sometimes (depending on the topic of conversation) I came away feeling quite flat and low in mood. We have a service of staff that chat and talk a lot, within work and about work, have monthly meeting on what's working and what's not for the service, looking at possible changes and outcomes. We also socialise outside of work, because of this I feel this wasn't beneficial for our team.

My overall experience has been good. I think it would have been beneficial if we could have had more sessions which would have supported the development of the group dynamics. I didn't feel there was enough time for group members to become comfortable with the group reflection process.

I can see that there is value in reflective practice. However I felt that this was not the right time for our team.

Session structure

Group 1

I thought it was useful. I felt that it was good that there was some openness, it wasn’t too prescribed… we didn’t know where the session would go, we started from where we were feeling now. I can imagine that if you’re not used to doing that then it might be hard but that’s a way that I really like working even in supervision.

I’ve been quite happy with that. To just come as you are.

I think I don’t have a great understanding of how these things should be run, I turn up and experience it, but I’ve learnt from my team that actually this is a really valuable way of having that reflective work and I see that now.

I think it [the loose structure] makes it authentic, things that really matter to each person in the group is what comes forward. The fact that I didn’t have to prep, it meant that it wasn’t a chore, I could just turn up, didn’t have to give it any thought in advance, not to devalue it, but that was important to me.

I think that this is a safe place for exploring and maybe not even ‘parking it’ or finding your way to deal with something, but it’s just a safe place to explore and then whatever comes of it afterwards is obviously down to us as professionals… I think this stuff is more valuable than it is often given credit.

I liked it as someone who waits to be invited to speak, it's good to have the prompt and structure rather than waiting or not exploring the check in. Also, it was good to hear how things are for others and therefore gain perspective for the session time.

Session structure

Group 2

I felt the structure was too 'negative' at first as I felt people felt they had to discuss and feel 'low' and then be more positive after/towards the end of the session but this was addressed and it did change in future sessions.

I felt the structure of the session was great and worked well always finishing on a positive especially after a 'negative' session.

I think the structure was appropriate however, for our team group supervision is not something we have taken part in before. I wonder if we should have spent more time considering the format and what was involved. I feel like this opportunity could have been really useful but there was not enough time to make the most if it.

Check ins and check outs were good. This is something that we use and I find it valuable as it enables each participant to say how they are and can give you a feel for their overall feeling about full participation on that particular day.

Closing thoughts

Group 1

Just to touch more upon the impact of you [Lucy] as someone who was holding this space. It might not have gone the same way with somebody else so there’s certainly that. The credit needs to go to you as well as just the fact that it’s nice for us to get together. I think you struck just such a perfect balance between allowing the quiet and the time for people to think but also knowing when to chip in and ask somebody ‘what do you think?’ or share your thoughts or encourage that conversation. And I imagine that that is not necessarily easy or wouldn’t come naturally to everybody but it was perfect. It gave us time to think and come back with more if we had more to say but it didn’t leave us just floundering… I think you were gentle enough to bring them [a group member] in and encourage him without making him feel uncomfortable when he is obviously somebody who wants to sit back. Just the balance you struck generally with everything and also your style, because of your own qualifications and experiences as a therapist, to prompt those reflections, to share what comes up for you, to share your curiosities in a way that gets us thinking was all super helpful so a huge amount of me saying that this has been a really positive experience is down to you and I just wanted to mention that specifically. Thank you.

I’ve really enjoyed thinking about our inward experience, looking in, and not that there was anything that stopped me but looking back I wish I’d made some art work as I was in sessions and again that’s a thing that wouldn’t be for everyone either. It’s been great and I’m really pleased we’ve been a part of it and I’m sure we’ll meet again somewhere but I’ll miss this space.

Such reflective sessions allow for a different space from supervisions and are so important as a wellbeing aspect.

Closing thoughts

Group 2

I feel it was perhaps just not the right time for our team as there was little for people to discuss.

I feel we did not fully benefit from the experience because as a team we were only able to attend 3 sessions. I also wondered where this sits in terms of priorities as on a couple of occasions we had to cancel because other work had been booked in which took priority. It seems that for the purposes of group/peer supervision everyone needs to have the opportunity to attend together as it is the learning from each other that is beneficial.


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