Communicate to collaborate: reframing communication to strengthen parent-practitioner collaborative relationships
Brussa, Ana K.
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Effective communication with the parents of pediatric clients is considered an essential skill and encompasses the verbal exchanging of ideas, listening, and non-verbal communication (Taylor, 2020). Similarly, the therapeutic use of self is integral to the practice of occupational therapy and consists of the conscious enhancement of communication through the use of planned strategies for intentional client-therapist interactions (Taylor, 2020). However, many occupational therapy practitioners report communication challenges, such as parent emotional expressions (Andrews et al., 2013) and discussing parent roles and expectations (Kruijsen-Terpstra et al., 2016 ), and implementing the therapeutic use of self in practice (Bonsaksen et al., 2013). Furthermore, factors such as the limited availability of communication skills training, a limited understanding of how to practice reflection to enhance communication self-awareness (King et al., 2017), and decreased self-efficacy (Coad et al., 2018) hinder the opportunity for practitioners to enhance their communication competencies. The following chapters discuss the evidence base and guiding theories informing the development of the proposed program, Communicate to Collaborate. Communicate to Collaborate is a communication skills training that aims to strengthen pediatric therapy practitioners’ interpersonal communication skills so that how they communicate with families becomes an active, mediating ingredient in their therapy interventions. Through program participation, it is anticipated practitioners will gain greater awareness of both their personal communication approaches and parent’s communication preferences and increased self-efficacy in how to communicate intentionally with parents, thus enhancing their therapeutic use of self in practice and improving the quality of family-centered pediatric therapy services.
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