Students' perceptions of a client-centered treatment approach in the fieldwork setting
The purpose of this study was to find out if occupational therapy students observed and/or participated in a client-centered treatment approach during their level II fieldwork experience. A qualitative study with quantitative aspects was conducted using a semi-structured interview that was developed for this study. Seven third year occupational therapy students were asked a set of open-ended questions which referred to their level II fieldwork experience in physical disabilities.
The results showed that overall the students did not observe or participate in a client-centered treatment approach. Only one student reported seeing and implementing a client-centered treatment approach 5 days a week for an entire treatment session. The remaining students observed a lot of preparatory activities such as exercise. In 72% of sites clients were asked about meaningful occupations at least some of the time, however these activities were only incorporated into treatment by the students when they could and not necessarily because their supervisors required that they do so.
Three major themes emerged from the responses. These include insufficient time, the medical model still existing, and a desire for implementing more occupation-based treatment. This study will enable academic occupational therapists such as faculty educators to have the opportunity to see that what is a big part of occupational therapy philosophy being taught in schools is not always being applied in the clinical setting.