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Research Article  |   July 1997
A Model of the Nature of Family–Therapist Relationships: Implications for Education
Author Affiliations
  • Sharon M. Brown, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapy Supervisor, McLeod Regional Medical Center, 555 East Cheves Street, Florence, South Carolina 29501-0551. At the time of this study, she was Faculty Member, Occupational Therapy Division, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Ruth Humphry, PhD, OTR/L, is Director and Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Division, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Eve Taylor, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Division, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Education
Research Article   |   July 1997
A Model of the Nature of Family–Therapist Relationships: Implications for Education
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1997, Vol. 51, 597-603. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.7.597
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 1997, Vol. 51, 597-603. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.7.597
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Abstract

Objectives. The family plays an important role in rehabilitation of persons with chronic disabilities and in supporting their reintegration into the community. To be prepared for family-centered intervention, educators need to frame the content that occupational therapy students must master. The purpose of this study was to develop a hierarchy of occupational therapists’ attitudes about the family’s involvement in services for a family member with special needs.

Method. Participants were 302 occupational therapists who reported some contact with families of clients. Through an open-ended question, participants were asked to indicate the most important outcome of their interactions with their clients’ families.

Results. Analysis of participant responses led to the development of a seven-level hierarchy of family–therapist interactions. The levels are based on the participants’ views of the outcome of family involvement as suggested by their attitudes about a family’s role and abilities. Knowledge and skills needed to work at different levels of the hierarchy are identified.

Conclusion. Recommendations for preparation of entry-level practitioners to work at all levels of the model are discussed.