Deutsch: Reflexion / Español: reflexión / Português: reflexão / Français: réflexion / Italiano: riflessione

According to Locke, reflection is the ability to use the powers of the mind to creatively rearrange ideas derived from sensory experience.

In the context of psychology, reflection refers to the process of introspectively examining one's thoughts, feelings, and actions to gain deeper insight and understanding. This cognitive activity is crucial for self-awareness, learning, and personal growth.


Reflection in psychology involves a deliberate and conscious effort to think about one's own cognitive processes, emotional states, and behaviors. It is a key mechanism by which individuals evaluate and analyze their experiences,

making sense of them and identifying areas for personal development and change. Reflective practice can lead to greater self-awareness, enhanced decision-making skills, and improved emotional intelligence by allowing individuals to critically assess their motivations, values, and responses to various situations.

Application Areas

Reflection is widely used in various psychological fields:

  • Clinical psychology: Therapists encourage clients to reflect on their emotions and behaviors to uncover underlying motives and patterns, aiding in therapy.
  • Educational psychology: Students are taught reflective practices to enhance learning and critical thinking skills, often through activities like reflective journals or discussions.
  • Organizational psychology: Reflection is used in professional development, helping individuals to learn from experiences and improve job performance.

Well-Known Examples

One of the well-known methods incorporating reflection is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), where clients are guided to reflect on their thoughts and behaviors to understand how these contribute to psychological problems. Another example is Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, a model used in education and healthcare that provides a structured method for reflection, helping individuals to systematically think about the phases of an experience or activity.

Treatment and Risks

Understanding and promoting reflection in psychological practice involves:

  • Benefits: Improved mental health outcomes by facilitating a deeper understanding of one's thoughts and feelings, and by enabling the modification of maladaptive behaviors.
  • Risks: In some cases, excessive or unstructured reflection can lead to rumination, where individuals become caught in a cycle of negative thinking without reaching a productive conclusion.

Symptoms, Therapy, and Healing

  • Therapy Techniques: Techniques such as journaling, self-questioning, and mindfulness meditation are used to foster productive reflection.
  • Healing Process: Through reflection, individuals can develop coping strategies, enhance resilience, and achieve a higher level of well-being by continuously learning from their experiences.


Articles with 'Reflection' in the title

  • De-reflection: De-reflection refers to a technique described by Frankl in which the client is instructed to ignore a troublesome behavior or symptom in order to divert his or her attention to more constructive thoughts or activities
  • Dereflection: Dereflection refers to a technique in which clients focus away from their problems instead of on them to reduce anxiety. Dereflection is also spelled De-reflection


In psychology, reflection is a crucial cognitive process that involves introspecting and evaluating one's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is instrumental in promoting personal growth, enhancing learning, and improving psychological well-being. Effective reflective practices help individuals understand their inner selves better, make informed decisions, and develop emotionally and cognitively.