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The Reflective Observer Model



The reflective observer (RO) model is a unique process that incorporates live observation by a trained observer of an ombudsman during a mediation session, followed by an in-depth debriefing between the ombudsman and the RO. The clinical goal is to explore cognitive schema used by the ombudsman in decision making during critical moments of the mediation and to describe the underrecognized rationale behind seemingly intuitive expertise. During the debriefing, the exploration is guided by a protocol specifically designed to elicit personal associations, as well as tactical decisions of the ombudsman not frequently addressed in ombudsman practice or training. While research on reflective practice is common among mediators (Bronson 2000), less research has focused on the impact of reflective practice on the work of ombudsmen. The RO model shows promise as a personal and professional developmental tool for ombudsmen and is a novel approach for both deeper learning as well as developing higher-order clinical interviewing skills.