I am honoured to be the 2018 recipient of the Thelma Cardwell Scholarship. My research project is titled: The Occupational Therapist’s Experience of Developing and Maintaining Therapeutic Relationships. This research involves an exploration of the experience of the therapeutic relationship between the occupational therapist and the client, in all areas of practice, from the perspective of the OT. It explores the occupational therapist’s thought processes and clinical judgement applied in the development and maintenance of the therapeutic relationship. This study explores the experience of countertransference in the therapeutic relationship as well as the use of psychoanalytic skills in the relationship. It will investigate how these skills can inform the therapist in occupational therapy practice. This work has real-world implications for occupational therapists working in all clinical areas throughout Canada. It will contribute to a deeper understanding and reflection regarding the psychoanalytic components of the therapeutic relationship in OT. By exploring the therapist’s understanding, reasoning, reflection and communication with their client in the therapeutic relationship, this in turn will hopefully contribute to an increased knowledge of successful relationship development, which supports clients to achieve their therapeutic goals.

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