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Building a Bridge Between the School of Occupational Therapy and School of Professional Psychology Clinic

1 January 2012


Under the supervision of Sean Roush, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor at Pacific University (PU), two Master of Occupational Therapy students (MOTs) laid the foundation for a linked program between Pacific University’s School of Occupational Therapy and Professional Psychology Clinic (SPPC). The SPPC is staffed by professional and student Psy.D.s and provides mental health services to the community. Throughout the process, the MOTs worked with the director of the clinic, Lisa Christiansen, Psy.D., who had initiated the program with Sean Roush. The long-term goal of the project is the creation of an interdisciplinary clinic, in which psychology and occupational therapy students will collaborate to provide quality care to clients. A literature review revealed limited data or commentary on previous collaboration between psychologists and occupational therapists.

The first step the MOTs took in the process was conducting a broad needs analysis to better understand how OT students could serve potential clients from the local community, the SPPC staff and their current clientele. This information was used to develop two pilot groups at the SPPC, led by the MOTs, and may also be helpful for future students who continue to build this program. The pilot groups, entitled “Making Sense of Stress Management”, focused on education about stress symptoms and sensorybased coping strategies to help manage stress. The MOTs used a modified version of the Sensory Profile assessment and a self-rating tool to help clients gain awareness of their sensory needs, and clients practiced using sensory strategies to reduce their stress levels. Recruitment efforts were geared toward SPPC clients only, and the MOTs faced a number of limitations in the process. Three members registered and participated in the groups, and all three reported they would make lifestyle changes after attending the groups. A suggested checklist guide for the next steps in the process of building an interdisciplinary program between Pacific University’s SPPC and school of OT was prepared for future OT students.


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