Reflection on a given event and provision of insight for counselling is one of the most significant topics in contemporary learning. The ability to reflect on what I have learned reinforces the concepts that have already been absorbed into the brain. This paper intends to use Gibbs’ reflective models to reflect on the relevance of reflective learning to counseling. The paper will also discuss four topics namely somatoform disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress disorder, and autism. Reflection serves to allow medical specialists to develop their present knowledge, which maximizes their opportunity to learn and avoid making past mistakes in learning to the counseling practice (Royal College of Nursing, 2012). According to Rodrigo (2016), Gibbs’ reflective models are classified into six steps. Based on Gibbs’ reflective models, I have understood that they play a significant role in counseling practice.
According to Spratt (2014), somatoform disorders denote categories of disorders in which a patient is diagnosed with symptoms which are inconsistent with an underlying neurologic condition. Physical symptoms of somatoform disorders are associated with psychological factors. Patients suffering from somatoform disorder cab repeatedly seek medical advice.
Somatoform disorder categories
Somatoform disorders are mainly categorized into five categories discussed below.
- Somatic symptom disorders. It is characterized by too much emphasis on physical symptoms such as fatigue or pain. I came to understand why a patient may not develop conditions connected with these symptoms, but one’s reaction to such symptoms is abnormal.
- Illness anxiety disorder. People usually diagnosed with this disorder think they have a life-threatening issue even though they do not. This made me understand why such people cannot be assured of their health condition even after a medical or counseling activity.
- Conversion disorder. It is usually caused by depression, and it is most common in young females. The symptoms include dysphonia, memory loss, slurred speech, blindness, a sensory disturbance among others.
- Factitious disorder. Here, a patient acts as if him or her or has not caused the problem being analyzed, but ideally, he or she is responsible. Patients suffering from factitious disorder are normally admitted in hospitals to undergo surgeries and various procedures. These procedures expose factitious patients to iatrogenic harm. The most common predisposing factors include deprivation stories, physical abuse, various mental disorders, and emotional abuse.
Reflection on Somatoform disorder
Gibb’s description step of reflective model explores the details of a context based on where, why, when, and how questions regarding the happening of a given event. Whoever that was present during the event is also taken into consideration. What an individual in question did as well as other people are two critical concerns. I remember when a 16-year-old neighboring young male student approached me in 2016. He complained that he had low self-esteem and depression due to his pimples. He sadly narrated the way he used to scratch the pimples and unpleasant experience of constantly wiping the affected area.
He was afraid that girls may not like him due to his condition. This consultation took about 30 minutes. The young student disclosed that he first began to see the pimples at 14. He went ahead to expose the bullying he experienced while at school. According to Rodrigo (2016), individuals who have gone through such experiences are prescribed with a three-month oxytetracycline dosage. This is the exact dosage that the student was prescribed with on visiting a healthcare facility.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), this disorder is linked with impairment in the functioning of the human systems as well as significant distress. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has a varied level of severity. Many Obsessive-compulsive disorder patients are characterized by moderate symptoms such as severe mental illness. Typical obsessions include contamination fears, precise arrangements, aggressive thoughts, extreme doubts in critical subjects, and concerns regarding losing or throwing away valuable items. Common compulsions in this disorder include cleaning, washing, balancing, ordering, and arranging until everything is perfect, checking, undoing actions, hoarding, and repetitive behaviors.
Gibbs’ feelings step deals with what one thinks and feels after a given experience or encounter. This is a rather descriptive step and not analytical as such. It is also worth noting that a nurse is encouraged to make his or her judgment about the event under discussion regarding what happened in this step (Rodrigo, 2016).
During the consultation process with the male student, I developed several feelings. Primarily, I was sympathetic to the boy based on the fact that his experience reminded me of my own when I was his age. I suffered from acne from 14 to 20 years. At this time, my self-esteem was significantly reduced. I felt I was helpless before the client because I did not offer an immediate solution to the problem he was facing. This also reminded me of a teacher who had reported embarrassment when he was involved in public speaking. The 2016 teacher on teaching practice later noticed that his problem was due to his reaction to public speaking (Academic Services & Retention Team, 2016).
Acute stress disorder
This refers to a psychiatric condition that happens in some patients in a month’s period concerning a given traumatic exposure (Kavan, Elsasser, and Barone, 2012). It is characterized by anxiety, dissociative symptoms, helplessness, re-experiencing of the tragic event, and avoidance behaviors. Individuals with such behaviors can easily develop post-traumatic stress disorder within a short time. Acute stress disorder occurs after a patient hears or gets a direct exposure to a given traumatic event such as a vehicle crash, violent actions such as sexual assault or military combat, work injury, human-made or natural disasters, sudden disturbing news such as severe illness that is life-threatening. The response to these events is characterized by feelings of helplessness, anxiety, fatigue, headache, and depression.
Treatment of acute stress disorder
Counselling is the most effective treatment method. Cognitive behavior therapy helps acute stress disorder patients recover from their anxiety. This is a short treatment method that involves discussions between a patient and a counsellor. The patient explains his or her thoughts regarding a given event that has troubled him or her. The counsellor engages with the patient and in the process, the patient starts to think differently. In some cases, patients may be prescribed with some drugs over a short period.
Gibb’s third step of evaluation deals with assessing what worked and what failed in a given situation. Objectivity and honesty are two critical concerns in this step. A focus on both positive and negative aspects is discussed. It is recommended to at the bad and good experience regarding that event, what exactly went well, what did not go well, what went so bad, and what you and other parties contributed to the situation.
On evaluation, I realized that the event was a good one. To begin with, it contributed to my experience of handling young people. I have not encountered many young individuals, and I wish I could get as many as it can be. I came to understand that young people have several problems but are sometimes ignored on the basis that they do not have many responsibilities apart from studies. I felt that I was in the right career. However, some harmful elements existed such as relatively short time with the individual may have made him feel uncomfortable or rushed. I was prompted to research the impacts of acne on young people. I found that young people can develop suicidal thoughts and therefore need encouragement on how to cope up with puberty and acne (Rodrigo, 2016).
According to autism spectrum Australia (2017), autism denotes a lifelong neuro-developmental condition. It is associated with traits such as behavioral differences in interaction, sensory processing, special interests, and communication. These traits indicate people in the spectrum of autism and the challenges they encounter in interacting with the environment.
Behaviors of autistic individuals
Prevalent behaviors include intense special interests, outstanding memory skills, very high attention to codes, plans, and details, either exceptional skills or difficulties in self-organization.
Diagnosis of autism
Developmental psychiatrists, psychologists, and pediatricians are responsible for diagnosing autism. An autism assessment includes questionnaires or standard test for individuals, family, or service providers. Information gathered is based on the strengths and weaknesses of an individual.
According to Sewell (2017), Gibbs’ forth step views an event on a deeper perspective, and the counselor is encouraged to categorize the event into episodes to facilitate an explicit analysis. The ability to relate to the young man added to my experience in handling similar future situations. I feel the young man opened up to me and sensed my empathy. According to Randall and Hill (2012), connecting with a patient is regarded as the best quality that makes a professional nurse. It is, therefore, something I must cultivate. Based on my observation, the young man was very optimistic about the outcome of me. The reason behind his decision to come must be very compelling and purposeful.
According to Sewell (2017), the analysis step of Gibbs’ model views an event on a deeper perspective, and the counselor is encouraged to categorize the event into episodes to facilitate an explicit analysis. My first encounter with an autistic patient was in 2017. The autistic individual was a young girl with an outstanding ability to differentiate colors while blindfolded. This ability prompted some radio stations and a few television channels to broadcast her. There is no single color she could fail to tell while blindfolded.
According to this autistic girl, she felt some unique memory power as soon as she joined a special education school. This implies that her uniqueness may have been associated with various risk factors that were becoming dominant as she continued to grow. I established a close interpersonal communication with her and she narrated her deepest sorrows and I almost shed tears while listening to her.
According to Randall and Hill (2012), connecting with a patient is regarded as the best quality that makes a professional counsellor. It is, therefore, something I must cultivate. Based on my observation, the young girl was very optimistic about how I would react.
According to Beesley, Watts, and Harrison (2018), Gibb’s conclusion step deals with exploring potential situation alternatives that can be used as a basis of reflection. Potential alternatives serve as a way of approaching the event from a viewpoint that will fully satisfy an individual being counselled. At times, an unsatisfied individual becomes even more distressed upon receiving unsatisfactory feedback.
If I will encounter a similar autistic individual in the future, I will approach him or her slightly different from how I approached the young girl. I should have extended the communication time. According to Baraldi and Larvese, (2013), children and youth participation leads to better decision making. Therefore, I will also engage a future autistic individual to provide his or concerns.
The last step of Gibbs’ model is the action plan. This step involves putting into place an action to effectively deal with a given situation if a similar event arises again. I will collect sufficient information to deal with future individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. I will also research on ways of managing children and youths suffering from various anxiety disorders. As such, young people will access sufficient details; they need on how to tackle particular events they find mentally disturbing. To assure young people about the significance and concern about their issues, I will design a confidentiality form and require them to sign it. I will take into consideration the privacy aspect as youths have recently raised concern (Fuentes et al. 2018). Moreover, my action plan will entail increasing awareness of working with youths. This will expand my understanding of the needs of adolescents and how to solve the problems they encounter.
Somatoform disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress disorder, and autism all affect the normal behavioral functioning of an individual. It is evident that Gibbs’ reflective cycle is of such great significance. The most effective treatment method for the above discussed disorders is counselling. However, medical prescriptions may be offered to alleviate pain in some cases. When an individual opens up to the counsellor and reveals all details, it becomes easier to reverse his or her thinking and such a patient recovers faster.
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