Medicine, Military; Medicine--Practice


The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of therapeutic use of self, and the factors that may influence that implementation in military and civilian settings, as described by occupational therapists who have experience in both settings. A semi-structured qualitative design was used to interview two practicing occupational therapists. Analysis of the audio transcripts resulted in two themes on the comparison of implementation of therapeutic use of self in military and civilian settings: Knowing your Population (identifying differences between the military and civilian settings) and Some Things Do Not Change (identifying similarities between the military and civilian settings). Factors influencing the implementation of therapeutic use of self in the military setting included the themes of The Military Medical System, The Military Structure and Purpose, and The Importance of Intimately Knowing about the Military as a Military Practitioner. Many of the underlying concepts of therapeutic use of self agreed with previous literature and theoretical concepts regarding therapeutic use of self. This was the first study investigating differences between military and civilian settings. Implications of this study are that a therapist should know his or her client base, be prepared to employ many means of creating rapport and promoting “buy-in,” and become familiar with the client population language or jargon. The military as a community unto itself has a distinct language, jargon, and culture that influence the implementation of therapeutic use of self.

First Advisor

George Tomlin

Date of Completion

Spring 2010

Degree Type







Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)

Date of Award



Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound