Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


This retrospective survey analysis sought to explore student perspectives and application of therapeutic use of self during a simulated standardized patient encounter (SSPE) with standardized patient actors portraying serious mental illness (SMI). Researchers collected retrospective data from post SSPE student surveys dating between 2009 and 2019 and standardized patient actor surveys dating between 2017 and 2019. Students’ level of expertise with therapeutic use of self and self-perceptions of the SSPE were analyzed for response categories. Descriptive analysis was conducted on all items. Student survey responses were organized into response categories. Standardized patient actor surveys were analyzed for frequencies of yes/no responses. Post-SSPE student surveys showed that many students found the SSPE to be a great learning experience, allowed them to practice therapeutic use of self, and felt that it reflected a realistic experience working with someone with SMI. Surveys of the standardized patient actors revealed that they observed student use of therapeutic use of self in the vast majority of their interactions. These results lead the researchers to conclude SSPEs are an effective way of teaching necessary occupational therapy skill sets and familiarizing students to populations experiencing SMI prior to Level II fieldwork and clinical practice.


Kimberly Mollo, OTD, OTR/L earned her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of the Arts (1991), MSOT from Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) (2006), and OTD from Chatham University (2015). As an OT professor at TJU, she provides education on health conditions, psychosocial community settings, environmental competence, and adaptive design.

Tina DeAngelis, EdD, MS, OTR/L earned her Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Widener University (2006) and has earned a MS in OT. She is the Director of the OT Doctorate program at Thomas Jefferson University and is passionate about OT and community based mental/behavioral health settings.

Maclain Capron, BA earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dickinson College (2017). He is a full-time research coordinator at Thomas Jefferson University where he operates at the primary contact for the IRB, teaches statistical methods, and conducts data analysis and interpretation for faculty and students.

Sierra Wells, MS, OTR/L earned her Bachelor of Science in Occupation and Health from Thomas Jefferson University (2020) and her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University (2020). She is committed to exploring clinical and researched based studies to further evidence-based interventions in the field of occupational therapy.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.