From Information

to Meaning Construction

The process began when I discussed the meetings which I had conducted with my patients and brought to our training session, with Anat.  Anat was interested in identifying alternative aspects of my practical approach, which differed from those she had studied in theoretical reading and lectures. One main focus was communication skills with children and adolescents, which enabled a trusting therapeutic alliance and the possibility to induce a change in this population. In general, she wanted to learn practical techniques which would be applicable in her work, especially in situations where she had previously observed the difficulty of therapists in achieving therapeutic goals, such our work with adolescents. From the reports of the meetings which I discussed with her, Anat extracted a certain vignette which illustrated an intervention which I had utilised in the case. She would then question me about the rationale which underlay my tactical behaviour. In order to respond, I considered the reasons for my choice of intervention, which up till then, I perceived to be intuitive, and based upon my experience to date with the family. I presented my reasoning to Anat, which included my understanding of the expected outcome of each possible choice of intervention, which enabled me to justified my chosen direction. 

Anat would then query the basic assumptions which underlay the rationale for my intervention. She introduced her perspective on my basic assumptions based upon her personal and professional experience and academic background into the discussion. She would consider the aspects of my professional behaviour which appeared different from those she had previously studied or observed. At the same time, she tried to evaluate from her viewpoint, whether my action was conducive to the educational, developmental and therapeutic goals of the child, if she felt it was counter-productive to the process, or could be detrimental to the family as a system. In doing this, she provided me with critical peer reflection which I had never experienced before. 

Her reflection caused me to re-examine my basic assumptions underlying my choice of the intervention, and provide my own interpretations and explanations of my rationale. Anat would then query the origin of my basic assumptions. I would consider elements of my autoethnography related to both my personal and professional curriculum, from which these assumptions may have arisen. Anat then considered the theoretical academic background of the issue discussed.  Together, we reviewed professional academic literature and recalled our professional understandings and presented these into the dialogue. If she found literature supporting my approach, this became theoretical grounding. Otherwise, we considered if we were conceptualising a new approach regarding the specific practical issue being examined.

This stage led to the identification of the principle underlying my professional behaviour in the situation. Anat provided input related to the theoretical principles that might have been involved in the intervention. At the end of this stage, meaning was constructed which led to an understanding regarding the intervention presented in the vignette.