This pilot study examined the level of perceived competence among 95 occupational therapists practicing in mental health in New York and New Jersey. Most respondents (80%) rated their ability to perform 15 professional tasks listed on the study questionnaire as good or excellent . The remaining six tasks listed on the questionnaire received lower perceived competence scores.
The findings suggest that basic, continuing, and postprofessional education programs along with a personal commitment to continued professional learning may provide therapists with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to perceive themselves as competent mental health practitioners.
Because the percentage of occupational therapists practicing in mental health is declining, it is vital that we develop and support the perceived competence of our mental health practitioners.