Co-Reflection: Helping Each Other through Workplace Peer Support

Co-Reflection enables people to hold healthy conversations at work with their peers, to help build and maintain resilience, and reach their potential.

Sometimes with the help of a chosen facilitator, they can discuss workload or workplace concerns, identify positive action, personal development and create opportunities for shared learning – all in a safe and confidential environment.

Who is it for?

It can be ideal for anyone who, as part of their role, comes in to contact with people going through a difficult time, or for organisations that are rapidly changing. It can also be useful for colleagues who have shared experiences which can benefit each other. (If you’re thinking about setting up more general peer support for a particular topic like mental health or bereavement, click here).

Why is this needed?

More and more organisations are starting to proactively train in understanding mental health, which means they can learn to recognise early warning signs and signpost options for help.

However, for many people it’s getting harder to get a GP appointment or access suitable support. The impact of this, especially in organisations adopting a culture which encourages good mental health maintenance, is that employees may turn to their colleagues and managers for additional support. The process of listening to someone going through a difficult time can have an impact on the person helping, so it’s important to provide support for the listener as well.

This is sometimes known as Intentional Peer Support.

What types of discussions take place?

I refer to the meetings as ‘gatherings’ because they’re not meant to be formal, and they’re not sessions in the way you’d think of counselling. They consist of like-minded people coming together to support each other in a way that’s been identified as helpful. This means you could have any number of gatherings (not just one) at work which could include peer support for employees who are:

Is this supervision?

Only if you want it to be. There are many benefits to supervision as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) explains, it ‘is provided to ensure standards, enhance quality, advance learning, stimulate creativity, and support the sustainability and resilience of the work being undertaken’. (BACP 2016b)”

Supervision is usually recognised for front-line professionals (including counsellors, social workers and psychologists) who are registered with a governing body that requires them to demonstrate good practice. It takes place with a supervisor, who is also a qualified front-line professional, to have discussions around effectiveness which may include safeguarding vulnerable people.

By contrast, co-reflection is peer- support, so there’s no one more qualified than the other. It’s less formal than supervision, and can be for any person in any profession. This type of support is also not mandatory.

Even if you are a front-line professional, and receive clinical supervision you may still find co-reflection helpful.

Does there need to be a facilitator?

Actually, no. Once the groups are up and running they can take care of themselves. It’s helpful to have someone keeping an eye on the time and steering the conversations if they start to go ‘off-topic’ but this person can vary from gathering to gathering.

Co-Reflection at Work Training

I have travelled around the U.K. delivering sessions on how to set up effective peer-support groups, and prior to that used to run a peer support service for a national charity, established for people with poor mental health. You can find out more about me here.

The one day workshop for co-reflective practise training consists of conversations around what it is, how it works and key ingredients for gatherings. It can be tailored to suit your organisation upon request.

If you or your organisation is interested in establishing Co-reflective Practise at Work, or want to book some training, fill out the form below.

© Delphi Ellis 2019 – links to external sites to which this article may refer are not endorsements.

Published by Delphi Ellis

Therapeutic counsellor, well-being trainer and author working with grief and mental health, helping people get their sparkle back. Explores dreams on telly. Avid tea drinker. © Delphi Ellis - Helping You Sparkle™ 2006 - 21

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