References- articles from OT News magazine
Delaney K (2014) Adapting recipes. OT News July, 38-39
Kaile E (2014) An OT by another name? OT News November, 30-31
Newland J (2014) From OT to case manager. OT News November, 30-31
Vickerstaffe R (2014) Let me in. OT News. July, 40
This article investigated uses of the term “occupational perspective” in order to clarify a standard definition for use in occupational science. This should make it easier to apply occupational science research findings in practice, the authors argue. In the end they came up with
“a way of looking at or thinking about human doing”
What is an occupational perspective then? According to the authors it’s not an occupational therapy perspective, since this term was one of the exclusion criteria in the Method section. The authors describe in the Findings the term as being used in relation to employment until the 90s when it became associated with Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science. Research investigating it is mainly qualitative suggesting it is something abstract perhaps also explaining why there were so many different interpretations of the term in the articles Njelesani et al (2014) shortlisted. The research on occupational perspective covered a wide variety of client populations indicating it’s a concept that applies to all people with disabilities/illness.
Interventions in occupational therapy use occupation (that is, any activity which is meaningful to an individual person) in order to achieve a particular therapeutic outcome. The same activity could be used by different therapists but in different ways to achieve different therapy goals. The same activity could be carried out by the SAME therapist with different clients in order to achieve different goals! To illustrate this point, consider gardening; an occupation which many people find meaningful.
The activity of planting seeds in a greenhouse. For one therapist, this could be creating repetitive upper limb and grasp movements in the low-tone limb of a stroke patient, to therapeutically restore neural connections for motor movement via neuroplasticity theory. For another therapist this could be teaching a learning disabled patient new skills in communicating with others and managing frustrations appropriately, in order to make successful socialising in the community and gaining employment more likely, via behavioural theory.
The same activity, but carried out with different end goals that the therapist wants the patients to achieve, and therefore different clinical reasoning behind it.
In this sense, it is not what you do, but why you do it.
Interventions can be grouped according to the type of goal they’re achieving:
You may have come across the term before, you may not, but if you’re an OT you’ve probably utilised it without realising already. Therapeutic use of self is a useful technique employed by occupational therapists in order to engage clients and therefore illicit a better outcome during the OT process. Essentially it’s being aware of yourself (your verbal language, body language, which personal information you choose to share…) when you’re interacting with a client, and using your own personality & interpersonal skills in order to build rapport and ultimately make the client feel at ease, motivated, and that they can trust you.
In order to use yourself therapeutically, you must first be aware of your interactions with a client to then be able to adapt them to suit the style of the client. It can be useful to consider some models in order to structure your thoughts, and provide guidance for an occupational therapy student who is just beginning to reflect on their own therapeutic style.
Taylor (2008) has recently proposed the Intentional Relationship model, which categorises the six therapeutic modes -or types of client-therapist interactions- into six categories.
The modes in the Intentional Relationship model (IRM) are: Read more
In this article, Havelka et al point out that the biomedical model was a valid model while infectious diseases caused by one factor prevailed and were the main healthcare problem for humanity, but now that chronic, lifestyle & non-infectious diseases with multiple influencing factors are the main health issue it is no longer effective or appropriate as the default model for healthcare. They are in favour of the biopsychosocial (BPS) model and say its implementation is taking too long. Their criticisms of the current biomedical model are:
No, it’s not your job.
Although in a way that can be part of one! It’s any activity or task carried out which has an end goal and provides meaning to you. There are many definitions put forwards, all slightly different, which does make it hard to compare different articles or pieces of research effectively. However it is generally agreed there are certain aspects of any occupation:
Considering occupations broken down in this way helps practitioners to understand why people choose to participate in certain occupations.
Analysing someone’s ability to carry out an occupational activity in order to assess where problem areas lie is the cornerstone of occupational therapy. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has created a useful guide to the standardised terminology that should be used when documenting activity assessments (it can be found here for BAOT members).
Occupational science seeks to answer questions about the nature of occupation, such as:
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, S1-S48. [Access at: http://ajot.aota.org/article.aspx?articleid=1860439 for BAOT members]