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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 1I - Paper 1

Including Emotions in Education - the 'Circles of Reflection' protocol

Dr Adam Al-Kashi - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

This paper presents a novel, small group protocol, which aims to directly support student success, increasing professional effectiveness, resilience and employability by developing reflective capacity, emotional-engagement and compassion.

Whether developing person-centred health professionals, client-focussed legal professionals, or people-centred business leaders, we are concerned with developing individuals who are reflective, emotionally engaging, compassionate and collaborative.

In the case of healthcare, person-centred health professionals are more effective, through the capacity to relate and reflect, and less prone to burnout through greater capacity for self-care and emotional processing (Lambie 2007; Lambie et al. 2009).

Students learn to recognise person-centred values and attitudes, but actually becoming person-centred requires the inclusion of their own emotions - facilitating safe spaces for authentic emotional disclosure and the growth of emotional literacy (Gilmore et al. 2001; Manners et al. 2004).

This paper presents a practical, evidence-based move to build emotion into education as a means of developing reflective capacity, emotional-engagement and compassion, in support of student effectiveness, employability and resilience.

Combining innovations in context, listening and facilitation, the small group protocol has been piloted with students across the School of Health Sciences, and received positive evaluation from participants, indicating that it is valued, needed and novel:

● “This is the only true reflective session we’ve had so far. It clarifies what reflection actually means in terms of professional practice. It’s not common at University that you get given the chance to express feelings and listen to how other people are feeling and I think it is really healthy.”

● “This session made me realise that I needed this session! I feel less overwhelmed and much less alone. It allowed me to get to grips with my feelings that I didn’t realise affect me.”

● “This session enabled me to see that having open and honest conversations can have a hugely positive impact and that fear of being vulnerable or emotional shouldn’t override my ability to be compassionate and offer emotional support.”

Strong early evaluation warrants further development of this protocol.

This is a verbal presentation with PowerPoint slides, including brief experiential demonstrations pertinent to the subject matter.

The attendee will gain insight into a powerful educational innovation that has emerged from within City University, and how emotions can be included in education.

Indicative questions include:
-What kinds of institutional signals diagnose the need for such an innovation?
-What are the implications for continuing professional development?
-What is the business case and enterprise implication for this work?


Gilmore, J. M., & Durkin, K. (2001). A Critical Review of the Validity of Ego Development Theory and Its Measurement. Journal of Personality Assessment, 77(3), 541–567. doi.org/10.1207/S15327752JPA7703_12

Manners, J., Durkin, K., & Nesdale, A. (2004). Promoting Advanced Ego Development Among Adults. Journal of Adult Development, 11(1), 19–27. doi.org/10.1023/B:JADE.0000012524.32002.8d

Lambie, G. W. and Sias, S. M. (2009), An Integrative Psychological Developmental Model of Supervision for Professional School Counselors-in- Training. Journal of Counseling & Development, 87: 349–356. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2009.tb00116.x

Lambie, G. W. (2007), The Contribution of Ego Development Level to Burnout in School Counselors: Implications for Professional School Counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 85: 82–88. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2007.tb00447.x