Reflexivity dialogues : an inquiry into how reflexivity is constructed in family therapy education

Jeanette Neden

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Reflexivity has had a long standing presence in professional education and therapy practice. In family therapy our knowledge about reflexivity has largely been produced through its application in practice. This is reflected in its multiple forms, described in the literature as therapeutic reflexivity, self reflexivity, relational reflexivity, group reflexivity, reflexive loops, recursiveness, self- reflection, self-awareness, reflexive competence, personal development, organizational reflexivity and cultural reflexivity. The practice context for conceptualising reflexivity fixes taken for granted knowledge as theory. This research constructs a history of reflexivity which draws upon narratives from diverse contexts across time and relationships, and weaves these together to examine discourses of influence which have led educationalists, practitioners, researchers and authors to construct reflexivity in many different ways. The influence and implications of these reflexivity discourses for practice and education are explored using a social constructionist approach to knowledge creation. A reflexive research design and methodology generates relational and dialogical contexts for constructing new knowledge about reflexivity and at the same time makes the processes of constructing this reflexive mode transparent. The question: ‘How is reflexivity constructed in family therapy education?’ is examined within a collaborative community constituted between educators and students. As we coordinate our polyvocality, episodes of transcendent storytelling and transformative dialogical moments are distinguished in which new knowledge emerges between participants. Using CMM heuristics, these transformative episodes are laminated to make visible the dialogical process of knowledge production. Different ‘forms’ of reflexivity are reconstructed as artefacts of conversations in relational contexts over time, shifting the discourse from looking at multiple reflexivity ‘forms’ towards ‘reflexive looking’. ‘Reflexive Dialogues’ transform positioning and offer new horizons which scaffold resourcefulness, including transfering relational practices from therapy to research and education. ‘Reflexive Dialogues’ transform hierarchical power and colonizing knowledge creation in research, therapy and education and invite empowering and collaborative relationships in which we produce knowledge together. ‘Reflexive looking’ affords theoretical pluralism and local coordination of multiple reflexivity discourses. This produces new knowledge and transforms relationships through scaffolding connected learning, engaged pedagogy and coordination of horizons between research, practice and educational communities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2012


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