Therapeutic use of self as defined by Swedish occupational therapists working with clients with cognitive impairments following acquired brain injury: a Delphi study.

Australian occupational therapy journal

PubMedID: 23414189

Holmqvist K, Holmefur M, Ivarsson AB. Therapeutic use of self as defined by Swedish occupational therapists working with clients with cognitive impairments following acquired brain injury: a Delphi study. Aust Occup Ther J. 2013;60(1):48-55.
BACKGROUND/AIM
The concept therapeutic use of self has mainly been described theoretically. Empirical descriptions are few and empirical validation is needed to make the concept more useful for informing practice and explaining what occupational therapists do in the interaction with their clients to facilitate successful outcomes. The aim of this study was to empirically define the aspects that occupational therapists working with clients with cognitive impairments following acquired brain injury find are consistent with the concept of therapeutic use of self.

METHOD
Thirteen expert occupational therapists participated. Reactive Delphi technique in three rounds was used where each round built on the results of the previous one. A questionnaire based on current literature was developed for the first round.

RESULTS
Twenty of 33 statements reached a consensus level of 75% or more. These statements reflected the therapists' consciousness, self-awareness and use of personal characteristics. The statements also concerned the intentions of therapeutic use of self, including client group-specific intentions such as enhancing self-awareness. The results indicate that the content of the concept may be defined differently depending on the client group.

CONCLUSIONS
The empirical descriptions generated from this study may help occupational therapists working with clients with cognitive impairments following acquired brain injury to describe how and with what intention they use themselves therapeutically in the rehabilitation process. In occupational therapy education, the results may be used to highlight how the concept may be understood in practice and to discuss it in relation to different client groups.