Reflective practice facilitation within occupational therapy supervision processes: a mixed method study Academic Article uri icon


  • Introduction

    Supervisors of occupational therapists play a key role facilitating reflective practice with their supervisees. Through reflective practice, supervisees can optimise their skills in professional reasoning and decision making. The aim of this study was to describe to what degree reflective practice is facilitated within occupational therapy supervision processes.


    A mixed methods study design was used, collecting data via online surveys and focus groups. Quantitative data were initially analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative and quantitative data were then thematically analysed to identify hindering and enabling mechanisms to reflective practice facilitation.


    Eighteen supervisees and 17 supervising occupational therapists completed the surveys and 14 supervisors participated in a focus group. Half of the supervisees reported that reflective practice was facilitated through supervision only "rarely" or "sometimes." A hindering mechanism to reflective practice facilitation was the awareness of reflective practice models. Enabling mechanisms for reflective practice facilitation included understanding the benefits of reflective practice; recognising the attributes of a reflective practice practitioner; setting up an optimal supervision environment; and flexibly facilitating reflective practice.


    Findings suggest that reflective practice is not always regularly facilitated through supervision. This may limit opportunities for supervisees to optimise the development of their professional reasoning and clinical skills in the early stages of their careers.

publication date

  • August 2020