Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Shana Cerny, OTD, OTR/L, BCP


Occupational therapy, Complementary Health Approaches and Integrative Health, Complementary therapy, Yoga, Mindfulness, Breathwork

Subject Categories

Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences | Occupational Therapy


Background and purpose: The use of complementary health approaches and integrative health (CHAIH) practices are on the rise in the United States. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) supports their use as occupations, activities, or interventions to support occupations yet many occupational therapists do not feel comfortable discussing or implementing complementary approaches in their therapy practice. The purpose of this project was to develop a two-day continuing education course to provide occupational therapy practitioners with information to increase their competency and confidence in utilizing complementary and integrative approaches in practice.

Methods: A literature review was completed to determine if there was a gap in the level of confidence of therapists and the utilization of CHAIH services and to identify available evidence supporting the use of CHAIH in occupational therapy practice. This was followed by a needs assessment including a survey to establish if local therapists reported a need or interest in an educational opportunity. The course was developed using a theoretical foundation of occupation-based and adult learning theories as well as backward course design. Outcomes were assessed using formative assessments throughout the course and a retrospective pre/post-course survey and evaluation tool.

Results: Five participants attended the course with an 80% response rate. Pre-course 75% of participants reported their confidence as not confident and 25% extremely confident. Post-workshop 50% reported being minimally confident, 25% moderately confident, and 25% extremely confident. 100% strongly agreed the length of the course was adequate, handouts were informative, the information and quality met expectations, and that the course should be provided as part of the current occupational therapy curriculum or as a continuing education opportunity. 100% strongly agreed the presenter was knowledgeable and they were satisfied with how the material was presented.

Conclusion: While a two-day in-person course can increase confidence related to incorporating CHAIH into occupational therapy practice, more research is needed using a larger audience and sample size.