Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Occupational Therapy -- education; Occupational Therapy -- ethics; Professional-Patient Relations


A literature review was conducted on the difficult issues faced in occupational therapy to gain general information on how these issues and situations were being addressed. After reviewing the literature, it was noted that there is a high rate of over-involvement when working in occupational therapy that can lead to stress and burnout. It was found that defining the role of occupational therapy is difficult and trying to establish boundaries within that role is a constant challenge. The lack of knowledge on issues such as ethics, therapeutic relationship, and core values can be difficult when establishing a personal and professional balance in occupational therapy.

The purpose of this project was to develop an in-service for occupational therapists to help them deal with difficult patient care situations. The in-service was designed to increase the occupational therapists’ awareness on these difficult issues and how they are dealing with them on a personal basis. It is the authors’ intent that through this in-service and by providing resources and strategies that the occupational therapists will be able to better deal with these difficult patient care situations. It is also hoped that the therapist will be able to identify what their involvement level is in their relationships with clients and be able to establish a balance.

The in-service is therapist friendly and is written specifically for occupational therapist using terminology from this profession. The in-service is organized into three specific modules. Module one contains information on ethics, therapeutic relationship, over-involvement and boundaries. Module two includes information on stress, burnout,and desensitization. The third module combines the first two modules together and contains information on core values and establishing a balance. Throughout all three modules there are discussion questions, worksheets, small group activities, reflection activities, and client scenarios. It provides specific strategies and resources to help deal with the difficult issues faced during practice.