Student Spotlight: Ben Triplett

For the past 15 years, North Carolina Native Ben Triplett has lived and studied in the Triangle. Originally from Sherrills Ford, NC, he is completing his MS in Occupational Therapy at his alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. Throughout his graduate program, Triplett has been a Work-Study student in the Office of Research where he assists with data management, study recruitment, administration of assessments, literature reviews, and interview transcription, as well as participating in discussions about study design. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from UNC-CH, Triplett attended seminary at Duke, where he studied religion and theology. Triplett’s interest in occupational therapy began after graduating seminary, when his sister, a speech language pathologist, helped him realize his passion for understanding people and their day-to-day lives. Triplett will begin his final internship at Duke University Hospital this summer. Looking forward, Triplett hopes to draw upon the client-based interaction of mental health work he experienced during a fieldwork assignment at a psychiatric hospital. Read more from our conversation with Ben.

What is your research this semester and what initiated your interest in this area? I am researching how humility might influence the power dynamic in the therapeutic relationship. The literature on the therapeutic relationship mentions humility as an important quality, but the literature does not define humility or its role in the therapeutic relationship. 

What are your career aspirations? I hope to serve invisible communities, such as the mental health community and immigrants to North Carolina. I am also interested in contributing to our profession’s theoretical foundations. 

How does your career as a pastor influence your work in occupational therapy? When I first aspired to become an occupational therapist, I was determined to bring with me the same challenge that I felt when I was a pastor, which was to somehow serve the people who were being overlooked. While the mechanics of occupational therapy will be much different than church ministry, I am hoping to draw from my work in seminary, where I was taught the skill of close reading, which involves both critical reading and charitable reading. I feel that this skill manifested in being able to better empathize with people in my work. 

Filed under: