Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

First Reader

Janice Davis, PhD, OTR/L


Background and purpose. Given the importance of listening in establishing a therapeutic relationship between healthcare providers and clients, there is a lack of research investigating the listening behaviors occupational therapists (OTs) use in clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to analyze what verbal and nonverbal listening behaviors OTs employ in clinical treatment sessions.

Subjects. Convenience and snowball sampling were used to recruit five OTs and five clients working with those OTs.

Methods. An observational study was used to investigate the verbal and nonverbal listening behaviors OTs employed during the first five minutes of each clinical treatment session. Each session was videotaped and transcribed verbatim to measure listening behaviors of OTs when working with clients. Data was collected using the IJLCI. Interrater reliability was evaluated with the ICC. SPSS was used for data storage, tabulation, and generation of descriptive statistics.

Results. Listening behaviors of five OTs were observed. All participants used six specific listening behaviors. OTs’ beliefs about listening were consistent with observed listening behaviors. Video analysis revealed six major barriers to listening. Discussion and conclusion. Video analysis and tabulation were used to analyze verbal and nonverbal listening behaviors of OTs. Listening is essential to the patient-therapist relationship. It is, however, an underexplored area particularly within the occupational therapy context.