Qualitative analysis of occupational therapists’ reflective notes on practicing their skills in building and maintaining therapeutic relationships
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Previous research has shown that occupational therapists have increased their self-efficacy for using self intentionally in therapeutic encounters. However, experiences related to such changes have not yet been explored. The authors developed a therapeutic use-of-self training workshop to support the confidence and competence of practicing occupational therapists in using the Intentional Relationship Model and possibly enhancing their self-efficacy for therapeutic use-of-self. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of practicing occupational therapists in transferring learning from a training workshop focused on the therapeutic use-of-self into real world practice. Thirteen occupational therapists participated in the workshop and subsequently completed between one and four reflection notes. These notes were subjected to qualitative thematic analysis. The findings were organized into four themes: therapeutic relationship reasoning, engrained previous learning, reflection on/in action, and level of skills in conducting reflection. Reflection skills seemed to be essential for establishing and developing therapeutic relationships; practicing such skills needs to be facilitated by the work environment through emphasis on reflective practice and mentoring.