What is creative reflective practice?

As coaches we are encouraged, if not expected, to have a formal reflective practice as part of our ongoing development and growth, ensuring we continue to provide a professional and positive service for our clients.

But as I declared in my blog Is my reflective practice good enough? I have struggled with this and have found myself finding my own way through creative reflective practice. In this blog I want to explain what I mean by that.

Reflective practice

Reflective practice is an ancient method of self-improvement and over 2,500 years ago the Greeks practised ‘reflection’ as a form of contemplation in search of truth. Today we use reflective practice to increase our self-awareness, awareness and understanding to develop and grow both personally and professionally.

Creative reflective practice


Expressing yourself through creating visual images, whether as a painting, drawing, collage, or a sculpture (or a mixture of approaches) can give you a way to be more in touch with yourself, your emotions, and your inner wisdom.

Anna Sheather


My creative reflective practice brings art journaling and formal reflective practice together, using intuitive creative image making to deepen awareness and understanding of myself and my practice.

Creative reflective journaling has enabled me to express myself through the safety and playfulness of image making and has been both a conscious and unconscious way to process my experiences.

This practice has also nurtured my creativity and has developed a greater connection to my creative self, particularly as part of my coaching and supervision practice.

Anna Sheather creative reflective journal image

I have found this to be such a meaningful way of reflecting on my practice that it has become an integral part of the ADCT Diploma in Art-Based Coaching, supporting coaches to deepen their self-awareness and understanding as they develop and grow as art-based coaches.

A reflective process

In my own practice, and the practice we use in the Diploma, I use my Creative Reflective Process (Sheather, 2023) which follows a similar process to the one I use with my clients when using art in coaching – The Five Stages of Coaching with Art, Sheather 2019.



Whilst approaching image making freely without a reflective process can still bring great benefits, using a framework helps to bring a formal element to creative reflective practice making it purposeful and insightful, as well as supporting you in your development and growth.

Next blogs in the series

What can I use my creative reflective journal for?

Self-care and creative reflective journaling


A Year of Creative Reflection

If you would like to develop a creative reflective practice or deepen your existing practice, why not join me for a year of creative reflection starting in February next year. We look at getting started and overcoming the barriers we can put up to creating images. We explore and use the Creative Reflective Process and together we create a supportive creative reflective space for image making, self-expression and reflection.

Find out more about this year long programme here: A Year of Creative Reflection



3 comments on “What is creative reflective practice?

  1. David Lane


    Thanks for this I was I was introduced to art as journaling many years ago by one of my PhD students. I require journals as a practice and she as an artist decided to use a long scroll of paper and draw something everyday, she then reflected in this. After her death this journal became an exhibit at the national gallery in South Africa. More recently I have a student using it in refugee camps in Jordan. Hugely beneficial.

    • admin

      Hello David,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I find bringing art and reflective practice together a much better way to reflect. I introduced it in the Diploma in Art-Based Coaching and the participants found it hugely beneficial not only for reflection on their coaching and art-based coaching practice, but also in their wider lives and building confidence in their own creativity and voice. They just ran with it and it was such a wonderful experience to see that happen.


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