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Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 297–314 | Cite as

The Power of Group Discussion: Enhancing Reflexivity in Professionals’ Practice When Dealing with Family Diversity

  • Marina EverriEmail author
  • Laura Fruggeri
  • Elena Venturelli
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper describes an action research study that illustrates the potential of group discussion to enhance reflexivity on professionals’ theoretical and technical models that foster a change in their practice when facing contemporary family diversity. Focus groups were carried out with thirty-five experienced professionals (females, N = 22; males, N = 12; mean age = 45 years) working in the Italian Health Care System (IHCS). Group discussions centered on clinical cases involving same-sex families, an emerging phenomenon in Italy and still subject to social stigma. Our results showed that group discussion allowed professionals to develop a communicative process through which they changed their initial prejudiced positions. This process was named the group re-orienting process and four progressive phases were recognized: (a) defense (b) familiarization with novelty (c) self-reflection and (d) generation. Each phase is described in detail using extracts from focus group data. Implications for training and intervention are discussed.

Keywords

Focus group Reflexivity Action research Communicative processes Same-sex families Professional practice 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Everri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura Fruggeri
    • 1
  • Elena Venturelli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ParmaParmaItaly

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