The Intentional Relationship Model describes a therapist's tasks and demands for establishing and sustaining a productive relationship with a client.
The Intentional Relationship Model guides occupational therapy practice by defining therapeutic use of self and thereby outlining an interpersonal reasoning process that therapists may apply when interacting with their clients.
The therapeutic relationship is a socially defined and personally interpreted interactive process between the therapist and a client. During client-therapist interactions, it is the therapist's responsibility to foster
the therapeutic relationship and develop the client's occupational engagement. Every action, including verbal and nonverbal communication from the therapist is purposeful and aims to facilitate occupational engagement with the client.
The therapist is not only delivering the technical aspects, but also responsible for facilitating and providing intentional therapeutic encounters with the client.
The AOTA Practice Framework outlines the use of self as skill within the scope of practice for occupational therapy practitioners.
Each client is equipped with a unique set of experiences, challenges presently being faced, and an individual interpretation of any given situation.
In addition, each client has his or her own set of interpersonal characteristics that are interpreted by the therapist.
The 14 categories of interpersonal characteristics:
The interpersonal events are described as naturally occurring communications, reactions, processes, tasks, or general circumstances that take place within the context of the client-therapist interaction.
These events typically consist of emotion, threat, and opportunity for the client and therapist with the potential of harming the client-therapist relationship if not handled appropriately.
It is the therapist's responsibility to navigate the inevitable interpersonal event with the client appropriately. The therapist's role is to maintain and foster the client-therapist relationship.
There are 12 categories of interpersonal event:
The Intentional Relationship model defines six modes of relating to a client that have been identified in occupational therapy practice.
Each therapist has their own preference based on his or her therapeutic use of self. While the therapist has a preference, the therapist should also attempt to best align the mode with the client's
interpersonal style in order to meet the needs of a client in a given moment.