You may have come across the term before, you may not, but if you’re an OT you’ve probably utilised it without realising already. Therapeutic use of self is a useful technique employed by occupational therapists in order to engage clients and therefore illicit a better outcome during the OT process. Essentially it’s being aware of yourself (your verbal language, body language, which personal information you choose to share…) when you’re interacting with a client, and using your own personality & interpersonal skills in order to build rapport and ultimately make the client feel at ease, motivated, and that they can trust you.
In order to use yourself therapeutically, you must first be aware of your interactions with a client to then be able to adapt them to suit the style of the client. It can be useful to consider some models in order to structure your thoughts, and provide guidance for an occupational therapy student who is just beginning to reflect on their own therapeutic style.
Taylor (2008) has recently proposed the Intentional Relationship model, which categorises the six therapeutic modes -or types of client-therapist interactions- into six categories.
The modes in the Intentional Relationship model (IRM) are: Read more