What is it about?

This study used Taylor's (2008) terminology (advocating, encouraging, empathizing, problem-solving, instructing, and collaborating) to describe occupational therapy students' in their second study year with regard to their preferred styles of communication in client-therapist interactions.

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Why is it important?

This was the first study to use the concepts of the Intentional Relationship Model (IRM; Taylor, 2008) to report on self-reported communication styles among occupational therapy students.


Communication style in client-therapist interactions commonly reflect the therapist's personality; our usual ways of interacting with others - we are who we are, across most contexts. If we feel that we ought to interact with clients in ways that differ from our usual ones, this will challenge us. The IRM model may assist in making us aware of our usual modes of interaction in therapeutic relationships, and may point to how we can adapt our communication to become more in line with the client's current needs in the situation. The instrument used for measuring "preferred communication style", the Self-Assessment of Modes Questionnaire, was completed by 31 students. In the sample, the highest mean score was shown for the problem-solving communication style. According to the theory, this may suggest that the students had a general preference for communicating in a problem-solving mode when interacting with others. This mode of interaction may also have been strengthened by the educators and the study program in general, by often referring to occupational therapists as "enablers of everyday life". This expression appears to be strongly associated with "problem-solving". Collaboration, often emphasized as the core interaction mode of client-centered practice, was also highly endorsed. The Norwegian version of the instrument, the later translated and adapted N-SAMQ, can be found here and can be used for free provided appropriate citation: https://blogg.hioa.no/irm/files/2016/10/N-SAMQ.pdf. Also, a more recent study of Norwegian occupational therapy students explored associations with their therapeutic mode preferences in more depth: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/11038128.2016.1220620.

Professor Tore Bonsaksen
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Self-Reported Therapeutic Style in Occupational Therapy Students, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 2013, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.4276/030802213x13833255804595.
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