“What is Occupational Therapy?”
It’s a common question, often followed up with a comment somewhere in the vicinity of, “You help people get jobs, right?”
Occupational Therapy is a “science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent—or live better with—illness, injury or disability”(quoted from the American Occupational Therapy Association website at www.aota.org).
As healthcare practitioners, Occupational Therapists holistically integrate scientific knowledge with artful practice* to help people live more meaningful lives through the use of occupation (i.e., meaningful activity).
It’s a multidimensional, enigmatic, evolving profession in which practitioners must rely on problem-solving abilities, creativity, people skills, cultural understanding, intuition, and formal education in order to help people live life to its fullest.
Was that vague enough for you?
I thought so.
“So what’s the purpose of this blog?” you may ask.
I am an Occupational Therapist, and this blog is about my journey. As I progress in the journey, I hope to engage mindfully** and creatively with issues that I encounter, to introduce you to interesting topics related to the field, and to spark some discussion along the way. My hope is that this can be a forum for discovery. On the home page, I have included links to some resources related to the field of Occupational Therapy. Please take advantage of them!
I want to emphasize that this a not a place for people to come and get Occupational Therapy; this is not a therapy website.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll come back soon and take part in positive and constructive discussion!
In the meantime, perhaps you can consider this question: in which meaningful occupations do you engage to help you live life to its fullest?
*The idea of Occupational Therapy as a blend of scientific knowledge and artful practice was taken from Dr. Merrill Turpin’s article in the July/August 2007 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The article, entitled, “Recovery of Our Phenomenological Knowledge in Occupational Therapy,” discusses on page 472 that, “A scientific perspective is one that values suspicion and criticism,” whereas, “Art is concerned with symbols and meanings they have for people.” I believe that Occupational Therapy is a choreographed blend of the two, and that is, in part, what makes it both so uniquely powerful and utterly enigmatic.
**The concept of “mindfulness” comes from Ellen J. Langer’s 1989 book of the same name. In it, she contrasts “mindlessness” – a state in which people become trapped by categories, engage in automatic behavior, or act from a single perspective – with “mindfulness” – a state in which people create new categories, welcome new information, act from more than one perspective, and emphasize the process before the outcome. One of the goals of this blog is to encourage me to get into the habit of mindfully engaging with my education and environment so that, one day, I can be the best Occupational Therapist I can be.