This article unveils a three-stage model of critical reflection which has emerged from research with social work students and their educators in England. In the first stage we acquire the art of reflection in everyday life-worlds as we process raw experiencing and convert it into transferable learning. In the second stage reflection becomes critical when conjoined to the art of reframing as we access alternative standpoints to reflect more broadly and deeply upon the status quo. In the third stage critical reflection realises itself in practical reform as professionals become change-agents in the world. Beyond this is meta-reflection which is of particular relevance to educators and researchers, and the Tao is invoked at this level as a way of appreciating the complexity of such journeying. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.