[Solution]De-identified Example Critical Reflection Essay for HCS102 Assignment 3

ntroduction The purpose of this essay is to discuss communication within the family context, in particular the issues and difficulties that occur when trying to…

ntroduction
The purpose of this essay is to discuss communication within the family context, in particular the issues and difficulties that occur when trying to communicate with an alcoholic family member. These will be analysed through linking aspects of Kaye‟s
(2013) Russian doll analogy of adult communication competence to my experience of communicating with my alcoholic mother. To further explore this communication event I will also relate it to other communication concepts such as perspective transformation, locus of control, and double-loop learning.
When recognising and coming to terms with the fact that a family member has become an alcoholic I think it is important to have a strong understanding of one‟s self as you proceed through the shifts which may occur in the relationship. This is symbolised in Kaye‟s (2013, p. 86) „self‟ doll – the intra-personal communication component of his Russian doll analogy. His idea that “understanding one‟s self is a necessary step towards effective self-management” is appropriate in this situation as we need to be able to analyse our own values and beliefs in order to self-manage our communication in potentially difficult situations.
The earliest outcome of my personal analysis of my own beliefs in regard to alcoholism was perspective transformation. Although I am ashamed to admit it now, in my pre-twenties before my mothers‟ struggle with alcoholism and depression began, I held a prejudice against people like her. As Mlcek (2013a) writes, “Mental models are formed by all individuals to help them to see the (complex) world in a simplified manner” – my very simplified mental model was that these people were „losers‟. I never thought my successful mother would end up an alcoholic, a victim of domestic violence, almost lose custody of her son, and live in a housing commission home.
Through a lack of knowledge and personal experience my mental model did not include the fact that through varying circumstances anyone can end up in this kind of situation. This perspective transformation has encouraged my self-management and impacted on my communication with my mother in a positive manner, as well as influenced a change in career path. Often one of the problems with communicating effectively with an alcoholic is their propensity to be argumentative and critical. I feel that this has had a limiting effect on my ability to develop my intra-personal intelligence within the realm of communication with my mother, particularly my awareness and expression of different feelings. This would be impacting on my ability to be assertive within the relationship, as Kaye (2013, p. 221) states, “the open and honest statement of one‟s feelings – represents the crux of the assertive intent”.
However, the experience of having an alcoholic family member has enabled me to develop a high internal locus of control, an intra-personal development which
De-identified Example Critical Reflection Essay for HCS102 Assignment 3 – for 201660
impacts on inter-personal communication. Through repetitive exposure to stressful communication and crises within our family I have become “more likely to act and take control of events” (Chaousis 2000:189, as cited in Mlcek, 2013b), rather than feel like a victim of circumstance. On the other hand, I would say my mother has an external locus of control as it is probably easier for her to believe her situation is not a result of her actions and that she has no control over changing her life for the better.
The next component in Kaye‟s (2013, p.86) Russian doll analogy is the inter-personal doll. This doll symbolises how we relate to others, how our interactions create meanings about each other, and the influence we can have on each other. I believe the inter-personal communication between my mother and I needs some attention to be improved. As mentioned earlier, I do feel like I struggle with self-disclosure in the relationship, which is unhelpful as this ignores “the importance of trust and openness as key factors in building satisfying relationships” (Mohan et al, 2008). Another communication skill I need to work on in this relationship is being able to listen openly and with empathy. Despite our struggle to communicate truly effectively, we are still able to maintain a strong connection and level of intimacy which is achieved through constant phatic communication, also known as „small talk‟.
In order to develop competence in communication, it is necessary for us to engage in critical reflection which means “reflecting on actions for the purpose of seeking change (praxis)” (Mlcek, 2013a). Reflecting upon the thinking, being and doing which is present in all of our interactions is integral to becoming the lifelong learners that we need to be as practitioners. The state of the communication between my mother and myself is not something I‟ve ever reflected deeply enough on, and is something I need to do to find solutions that improve our relationship. Double-loop learning – “a constant monitoring of action, reflection on action, and discovery of new meanings” (Mlcek, 2013c) would be an effective method to improve competence within our relationship.
Conclusion
This paper has examined the communication issues that I have faced in my interactions with an alcoholic family member. These issues have been analysed using aspects of the intra-personal and inter-personal components from Kaye‟s (2013) Russian doll analogy, which has helped to highlight the aspects of communication that need improving in order to achieve competence. As my first critical reflection on this communication event, I hope the increased knowledge I have gained and deeper self-awareness will enable my ability to be a better communicator with my mother and other people in my world.
De-identified Example Critical Reflection Essay for HCS102 Assignment 3 – for 201660
References
Kaye, M. (2013). Communication management. In S. Mlcek, B. Moorhead, & G. North (Comps.). Communication and beyond (pp. 79-335). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Australia. (Reprinted from M. Kaye, 2010, Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia)
Mlcek, S. (2013a). Module 4: Extra-Dimensional Communication [HCS102
Communication and human services Modules]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt
University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/
HCS102_201330_W_D/page/dd461ebd-2862-45cb-80a1-751fb24bf60a
Mlcek, S. (2013b). Module 2: Inter-personal Communication [HCS102
Communication and human services Modules]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt
University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/
HCS102_201330_W_D/page/dd461ebd-2862-45cb-80a1-751fb24bf60a
Mlcek, S. (2013c). Module 3: Trans-system Communication [HCS102
Communication and human services Modules]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt
University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/
HCS102_201330_W_D/page/dd461ebd-2862-45cb-80a1-751fb24bf60a
Mohan, T., McGregor, H., Saunders, S., & Archee, R. (2008). Concepts and
applications in interpersonal communication. In Communicating as
professionals (2nd ed.) (pp. 147-179). South Melbourne : Thomson Learning
Australia. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:
http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/mohan-t1.pdf
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