University Of Tasmania

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The process of self-reflection in postgraduate psychology students: Does regular feedback enhance reflective skills?

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 18:28 authored by Leesa Van NiekerkLeesa Van Niekerk, Kimberley NorrisKimberley Norris, Mandy MatthewsonMandy Matthewson

Aim: The use of reflective journals is considered an effective method for monitoring and improving reflective skills in postgraduate students. This study aimed to examine the use of reflective writing and formative feedback on the development of reflective skills in postgraduate psychology students. In practice, summative feedback is generally provided for reflective journals with limited evidence of regular progressive feedback completed. Formative feedback can enhance reflective practice over time, with studies showing that students who receive regular feedback are able to engage in higher levels of self-reflection. However, research examining the role of formative feedback in reflective skill development of postgraduate psychology students is lacking. The current study aimed to address this gap in understanding by examining: 1) the role of formative feedback in enhancing self-reflective skills, 2) postgraduate psychology student's perception of formative feedback in skill development and 3) the role of formative feedback on minimising defensiveness and anxiety.

Design: The current study employed a within-groups repeated measures design.

Method: Postgraduate Psychology students completed a self-reflective diary immediately prior to and immediately following a 3-hour self-reflection workshop. In addition to this, students then completed this same self-reflective diary each week for the following 13 weeks of their first-semester of postgraduate psychology training. For each diary entry, students were provided formative feedback by clinically trained academic staff. On each occasion the self-reflective diary was completed, students also completed measures assessing acceptability and utility of feedback, as well as measures assessing anxiety and defensiveness.

Results: Data collection is ongoing. It is hypothesised that the provision of regular and formative feedback will result in improved self-reflective skills and encourage ongoing engagement in the process of self-reflection. It is also hypothesised that the process of regular feedback will also result in a reduction of defensiveness and anxiety in relation to skill development and engagement in internal and external practicum.

Conclusion: Results will be discussed in the context of informing postgraduate psychology training and clinical supervision methods.


Publication title

Australian Psychological Society (APS) Congress Psychology advancing into a new age




School of Psychological Sciences

Event title

Australian Psychological Society (APS) Congress Psychology advancing into a new age

Event Venue

Sydney, NSW

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in psychology