Reflective Practice Consultation Process

Described below is the Reflective Practice Consultation Process. This is available through the MDH for local public health departments and tribal agencies interested in advancing Reflective Practice (RP) within their Family Home Visiting (FHV) programs. The process is designed to enhance reflective practice by building upon current strengths and capacities and bringing program staff forward in skill and competency. Ultimately, agencies will be able to sustain reflective practice activities on an ongoing basis either through their own facilitation of reflective practice groups (RPGs) or through partnering with others in their community for facilitation. The length of time the process takes may vary. It will be refined and individually tailored to best meet the needs of each agency and may utilize available resources in each community. For most agencies, the complete process will take from one to two years.

Phase 1: Building Trusting Relationships


  • Family Home Visiting staff experience growth in reflective capacity
  • Transition towards reflective practice has adequate time to evolve
  • Supervisors gain skills and comfort providing one-on-one reflective supervision
  • Supervisors gain knowledge, skills and comfort needed to facilitate reflective practice activities
  • Supervisors experience reflective supervision
  • Family Home Visiting program staff increase their understanding of principles of infant mental health

Core Activities (see descriptions

  • Reflective Practice Group (RPG)
    • Monthly two hour meetings for at least 12 months. 
    • Group size limited to five to eight people.
    • Composition of group defined in consultation with site
  • Reflective Consultation and Mentoring
  • Monthly meetings (two hrs following RPGs)
  • Reading articles and applying to clinical/case material, processing after RPG, etc

Supplemental Activity (optional, see descriptions)

  • Facilitation of Supervisors’ Reflective Practice Group 
  • Group size limited to five or fewer people. 
  • Composition of group defined in consultation with site or region 
  • May be interdisciplinary to build relationships across partner agencies, or may bring together several area public health supervisors

Infant mental health principle illustrated:  learning happens in the context of safe, trusting relationships which are reliable over time.

Phase 2: Growing Autonomy with Support


  • Supervisors (or other community resource as determined by local agency) begin to facilitate local agency reflective practice group
  • Supervisors provide regular reflective supervision for FHV staff
  • Supervisors receive continuing and ongoing support

Core Activities

  • MDH reflective practice consultant (RPC) will provide monthly support to mentee via phone, teleconference
  • Bi-monthly site visits (e.g., attend RPG, meet individually to after group to process)

Supplemental Activity

  • Continued availability of supervisors’ reflective practice group

Infant mental health principle illustrated:  facilitate continuing development with predictable, gradually decreasing support.     

Description of Core and Supplemental Activities

Reflective Practice Group

These groups include direct service staff and are facilitated by a reflective practice consultant (RPC) or licensed mental health professional with expertise in infant mental health. They occur primarily in person, but may be occasionally supplemented by phone or videoconferencing. Frequency and regularity are very important. These groups meet at least once per month, are ongoing, and with consistent attendance among members. Size: five to eight people per group. Groups may be interdisciplinary to enhance collaboration across agencies and services. 

Initially, these groups emphasize learning and applying infant mental health principles and relationship-based strategies. Eventually, a shift toward more reflective group work occurs through experience of the group and as capacity of individuals develops. The group becomes a team, professionals coming together on a regular basis to discuss case material and themes of the work, with the goal of understanding more deeply the experience of the family, the child, and the service provider. Facilitation will gradually be taken over by a local public health supervisor or mental health clinician who has completed the reflective practice mentoring process.

Reflective Consultation and Mentoring

Supervisors meet monthly on an individual basis with the reflective practice consultant for the purpose of both reflective supervision and to support building skills for reflective practice group facilitation. Consultation and mentoring occur primarily face-to-face, but may be provided via teleconference on an occasional basis if in-person is not possible. The mentoring process takes from one to two years. On site meetings follow reflective practice group meetings and last for approximately two hours. Participation includes observation, reading and discussing articles, meeting regularly with the reflective practice consultant, and increasing responsibilities regarding facilitation of the reflective practice group. Local health departments have the option of partnering with a mental health practitioner in their community for on-going reflective practice group facilitation. If this option is chosen, mentoring will also be provided for the mental health practitioner.

Supervisors’ Reflective Practice Groups

Supervisors from various programs come together on a regular basis to discuss themes related to providing reflective supervision to their home visitors, and case material for the purpose of enhancing reflective practice skills and gaining a deeper understanding of how to support the learning of direct service providers. Groups are facilitated by a reflective practice consultant, a public health supervisor who has completed the reflective practice mentoring process, or mental health professional with expertise in infant mental health.

Frequency: at least once per month – on-going, with consistent attendance among group members. Size: no more than five people per group.

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For more information about the Reflective Consultation Process, please contact Jill Hennes, Reflective Practice Consultant,, 651-201-3739.