A missing ethical competency? A review of critical reflection in health promotion

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Journal Article
Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2015, 26 (3), pp. 216 - 221
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© Australian Health Promotion Association 2015. Issue addressed There is increasing emphasis in the health promotion literature on the ethical imperative for the profession to move towards critical practice. A key challenge for health promotion is that critical practice appears both under-developed and under-practiced. This is evident in the omission of critical reflection from Australian and international competencies for health promotion practitioners. Methods A narrative literature review was undertaken to explore the current use of critical reflection in health promotion. Critical reflection models relevant to health promotion were identified and critiqued. Results There was a dearth of literature on critical reflection within health promotion, despite recognition of its potential to support critical practice. The discipline of critical social work provided literature on the use, effect and outcome of critical reflection in practice. The interdisciplinary critical reflection model was identified as the model most applicable to health promotion. Underpinned by critical theory, this model emphasises both critical and ethical practice. Conclusions Critical reflection is a core competency for health promotion practitioners to address the ethical imperative to move towards critical practice. There is a need to explore the application of a critical reflection model in health promotion to determine how it may support critical and ethical practice. So what? If health promotion is to meet its ethical responsibilities, then critical reflection needs to be articulated as a core health promotion competency and a model for its application in health promotion developed.
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