Investigating the Effects of Student-Lecturer Group facilitation in Preparation of Occupational Therapy Students for Mental Health Fieldwork

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


A teaching model was developed as a part of preparation of occupational therapy students
for fieldwork in mental health setting. Traditionally, occupational therapy students will
get their first experience in running psychiatric groups as a part of their formal fieldwork
hours. In the teaching method discussed, second year students worked in small groups
to plan and carry out a group session with an occupational therapy lecturer in community
mental health settings. Prior to this, they would have learnt about group theories and
occupational therapy in mental health practice. They would also have attempted short
interactions with psychiatric clients at least once in their course.
To analyse students’ learning experience in this teaching method
To evaluate the usefulness of this teaching method
To investigate student difficulties in learning group facilitation
74 second year occupational therapy students were tasked to facilitate either Wellness
Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) or Stress Management group with their lecturer in two similar
community mental health facilities. Each student would have an opportunity to facilitate
the group once. Students were asked to write up individual and group reflections after
the group. The students’ reflections were examined via thematic analysis. A questionnaire
was given to both students and clients at the end of the group session. An additional
questionnaire was given to the students who were eventually attached to mental health
facility for their fieldwork two months later.
Results/practice Implication:
The results are currently being analysed. Provisional analysis showed that they reflected
on their own strengths and weakness in this experience. They also raised some common
difficulties such as validating clients’ response and learning how to manage their own
anxieties while running the group. Questionnaire results are not available at this point
as data collection is on-going.
This research has helped us to identify student difficulties in learning group facilitation
skills and to better tailor the teaching programme to prepare them for handling group
work in mental health facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventAsia Pacific Occupational Therapy Conference 2015: Doing Well Together - Rotorua energy Events Centre, Rotorua, New Zealand
Duration: 14 Sep 201517 Sep 2015
Conference number: 6th


ConferenceAsia Pacific Occupational Therapy Conference 2015
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand

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