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The University of Southampton

OCCT3032 Therapeutic Engagement/Partnerships in Occupational Therapy Practice 3

Module Overview

This module explores the theory and practice of commonly used talking therapies, examines the verbal and non-verbal components which enhance the therapeutic value of dialogue and facilitates practice to build the skills and confidence required to using talking as a therapeutic tool within occupational therapy at an advanced level.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Maximise the effectiveness of therapeutic skills and engagement across a range of complex scenarios to facilitate individual or group participation
  • Evaluate and reflect on professional and personal effectiveness in working alongside people in their self-management and recovery.
  • Adapt OT interventions based on evidence and clinical reasoning taking into account the complexity of individuals’ experiences and the contexts in which they live and work.
  • Justify a range of theoretical approaches to talking as a therapeutic intervention to maximize occupational performance, insight and transformation
  • Work with others to practice the skills associated with therapeutic dialogue within the context of occupational therapy intervention and assess the impact of this dialogue
  • Critically reflect upon their personal progress in the development and use of advanced communication skills
  • Identify and critically evaluate a range of evidence in relation to therapeutic dialogue within complex situations


• Therapeutic dialogue skills - such as reflection, summarising, challenging, containing, use of silence, transference, counter-transference, projection and empathy • Concepts of therapeutic use of self and therapeutic alliance within occupational therapy • Practice advanced communication skills within complex situations e.g. in response to unexpected disclosure, heightened emotional situations, conflict or feeling “stuck” • Examining the evidence base for talking as a therapeutic approach • Application of theory to occupational therapy practice, building on students' experiences on clinical placement • Identifying and/or enabling acceptance of feelings • Understanding the underlying reasons, dynamics, assumptions, or unconscious motivations for thoughts, behaviours, attitudes or feelings in order to enable change • To identify defence mechanisms and enable individuals to work through them • Recognition and understanding concepts of transference / counter-transference in therapeutic relationships and how to work with them • Understanding and the concept of splitting and how this informs therapeutic practice • Narrative and creative approaches to facilitate therapeutic gain include working through metaphors or visual images

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

There will be an emphasis on experiential learning, with students being supported in personal critical reflection by the use of videotaped practical sessions, feedback and opportunity to practise and develop advanced skills. Other methods include lectures, seminars, tutorials, group-work and collaborative peer learning tasks.

Practical classes and workshops20
Follow-up work20
Completion of assessment task20
Wider reading or practice87
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Total study time187

Resources & Reading list

Egan M (2007). Speaking of Suffering and Occupational Therapy. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. ,74: 293 .

Morrison T (2013). Individual and environmental implications of working alliances in occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. ,76(11) , pp. 507-514.

Murran C, Barber J (2010). The therapeutic alliance: an evidence-based guide to practice. 

Singer JA, Blagiv P, Berry m, Oost KM (2013).  Self defining memories, scripts and the life story: narrative identity in personality and psychotherapy. Journal of Personality. ,81(6) , pp. 569-582.

Ladany, N; Hill, C E.; Thompson, B J.; O'Brien, K M. (2004). Therapist perspectives on using silence in therapy:a qualitative study. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. ,4 (1) , pp. 80-89.

Legowski, Brownlee (2001). Working with metaphor in narrative therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy. ,12(1) , pp. 19-27.

Padfield D (2003). Perceptions of pain. 

Katz N, Fleming J, Keren N, Lightbody S, Hartman-Maeir A (2002). Unawareness and/or denial of disability: Implications for occupational therapy intervention. Canadian Model of Occupational Therapy. ,69 , pp. 281-292.

Haene LD, Grietens H, Vershueren K (2010). Holding harm: narrative methods in mental health research on refugee trauma. Qualitative Health Research. ,20(12) , pp. 1664-1676.



MethodPercentage contribution
Written critical appraisal 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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