Stephanie P. OTR

These are the People in Your Neighborhood

Aside from their daily commute, occupational therapists have plenty of opportunity to engage with people in the community. This page describes the interactions that I had, in the community, during my MSOT studies.

Photo credit: ID 36107585 © Sayurik |


  • B.5.4:GD
  • B.5.17:EIA
  • B3.3:OTP, EIP
  • B.7.5: CBP OTL

Relevant Artifacts

Located on the PDF page.

  • Krempel's Review
  • Friday Night Supper Club Review
  • Group protocol: sensory bottles
  • Group protocol: music therapy


What is group dynamics?

Cole defines group dynamics as, "the forces that influence the interrelationships of members and ultimately affect group outcome." (Cole, 2012, p. 29)

Why is understanding group dynamics important for an occupational therapist?

Helps to make sure that group session plans will be effective considering the population being served and the "forces" involved. 

What are some contributing forces/factors?

  • Group roles (Figure II): Roles that individuals adopt within the group can either maintain, help, or interfere in the group process. The ability to understand and identify the roles that individuals adopt will help to ensure that the goal of the session stays on course. 
  • Developmental levels of groups (Figure III): The cognitive level of the group members will aid in determining the appropriateness of an activity.
  • Leadership style (Figure IV): Selecting the best leadership style to go along with the developmental level of the group. 


Figure III. Developmental Levels of Groups

Figure IV. Styles of Group Leadership

What is group development?

The course the group members and the "forces," take when working towards a shared objective. A commonly applied theory of the stages of a group was published by Tuckman in 1965. Figure I, is a visual course of Tuckman's stages. 


Cole, M. B. (2012). Group dynamics in occupational therapy: The theoretical basis and practice application of group intervention. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Incorporated.

Level I: Fieldwork Experience

For my group dynamics fieldwork experience a classmate and I visited a clubhouse in Massachusetts, every week for six weeks. A clubhouse is an independent psychiatric center, for adults, that offers a broad range of programs designed to provide a safe environment, supportive relationships and employment opportunities. (Raeburn, 2013) My co-leader and I decided on a sensory theme to carry throughout our group lessons over the six weeks (Appendix I). With the theme in place we developed session plans that focused on a different sense each week. We also considered the cognitive level of our group members and the fact that it would be an open group when creating our plans. An open group means that members can join or leave the session throughout its duration. As we completed our plans (Appendix II), we submitted them for feedback, to our fieldwork supervisor, through a google doc. We also created a flyer (Appendix III) that the clubhouse could post to generate interest in the upcoming group session. This fieldwork experience taught me the importance of planning and being able to adapt. There definitely needs to be wiggle room in your plans because anything can come up that could disrupt your plan.

In addition to our session plans my co-leader and I created a group protocol (Appendix IV) for one of our plans. The group protocol is an, “extensive and detailed outline of a group to be planned by the occupational therapist for a specific client population.” (Cole, 2012, p. 317) The purpose of creating a group protocol is ensure that the occupational therapist has an effective plan for a group session. An effective plan should contain a measurable goal and meet the needs of clients with a wide variety of characteristics, using multiple frames of reference. (Cole, 2012, p. 317) In conclusion group dynamics are complex and can be tricky to navigate, but with knowledge of the forces that influence group dynamics and a well thought out goal-oriented plan, running a group session can also be very rewarding. 



Cole, M. B. (2012). Group dynamics in occupational therapy: The theoretical basis and practice application of group intervention. Thorofare, NJ: Slack Incorporated.

Raeburn, T., Halcomb, E., Walter, G., & Cleary, M. (2013). An overview of the clubhouse model of psychiatric rehabilitation. Australasian Psychiatry21(4), 376–378.

Club House


Operations of a Not for Profit: Friday Night Supper Club

The clubhouse was not the only exposure I had to service delivery through a community-based program. During my community-based course I volunteered one evening at the Friday Night Supper Program (FNSP) in Boston, MA. FNSP, is a non-profit organization that provides a warm meal and emergency assistance (food, clothing, cash) to the economically disadvantaged each and Friday evening. While there I was able to see first hand the planning, development, organization, and marketing of service delivery. Knowing that at some point during the evening that I would be given the opportunity to interview Rachel Caldwell, the executive director, of the program I brought with me a list of questions, and publicly available information about the program. Rachel expressed to me that I was more prepared than the classmates of mine that she had met previously and that she appreciated that I had done my research beforehand. I understand that Rachel’s time is valuable and I did not want to waste it asking her questions that could be answered easily using a Guidestar search.

The documentation of my night at FNSP is located on the PDF page of this website.

Education: Aging in Place

While opportunities for group service delivery are plenty in community-based practice, there are also opportunities to educate populations. Spring 2018, I had the unique experience of being a presenter for a series on Aging in Place, at the Weston Council on Aging, in Weston, MA. The topic that I presented was staying social. I offered the audience some ideas and tools that they could use to engage in social participation within their home and community. It was a lot of fun and it felt rewarding being able to offer guidance that when applied would improve an individual’s quality of life. The fact sheet on the right was a handout that I created for the event. 

Topic presenters 

Credit: @Regis Occupational Therapy

Fact Sheet 

Flyer created for a presentation to the Weston Council on Aging. Social engagement opportunities.

Guest Speaker: Driving

Opportunities for occupational therapists are not only available in the community but they are available in helping an individual to drive around the community. During the fall 2017 semester a guest lecturer spoke to my class about her job as an occupational therapist who performs driving evaluations. the handouts to the right are the tools that she gave us. She explained the assessments to the class and how she uses them. She also answered questions relating to her job and driver rehabilitation. The talk was very informative and provided insight into reasons why a person may need a driving evaluation. I also learned about client factors, performance patterns, and performance skills that might influence driving. Some of which I had not previously considered. 

Speaker Handouts