Thinking OT

Thoughts from Harrison Training and the occupational therapy world

Archive for May 2010

Headley Court – A Powerful Testimony To Hope

leave a comment »

Yesterday morning I was in a hotel room, going through my final preparation for an Enablement team training day.  As I got dressed, the BBC were covering Headley Court and the amazing work that they do there.

Headley Court is treating many soldiers returning from Afghanistan with amputations.

Throughout the program, and on replays throughout the day, were stories of heroism both on the front line, and now back home in England.

It was good to see an OT being interviewed (sorry I didn’t make a note of her name), which helped to explain the OT role within rehabilitation.

The BBC’s article, with some of the video footage can found here.

Tissues might be needed, or maybe that’s just me.

Advertisements

Written by harrisontraining

May 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Challenging How We Think About OT – “Occupational Therapy Without Borders”

leave a comment »

As I was reading through recently updated blogs from the OT blogs I follow, I came across this post from Salford University’s blog.

This line, in particular, caught my attention;

“An hour of so spent chatting with Frank Kronenberg (a newly appointed Honorary Professor at Salford) has possibly turned much about how we think of our profession on its head – but that´s for another post – we need time to reflect and assimilate before going public with this very radical view!”

Curious?  I know I am.

Frank Kronenberg is the co-editor of the book; “Occupational Therapy Without Borders. Learning From The Spirit of Survivors”

You can click through to Amazon for more details, but the description reads;

“This book challenges occupational therapists, members of a still small and rather invisible profession, to more fully realize the profession’s social vision of a more just society where disability, old age, and other marginalizing conditions and experiences are addressed by involving people in helping themselves to (re)gain the capacity and power to construct their own destinies through their participation in daily life. The book will explore the new idea of occupational apartheid – the separation between those who have meaningful, useful occupations and those who are deprived of, isolated from, or otherwise constrained in their daily life.”

There is only one review but it is very positive stating that “OT Without Borders is a really refreshing OT book. It really explores OT out of the usual settings, and isn’t bogged down in the usual ‘what do we do?’, ‘does anyone know what we do?’, ‘does anyone care???!'”

Quite a rallying cry for the profession and if Frank Kronenberg is continuing to develop these thoughts then it may well present a challenge to how occupational therapists perceive their role and identity.

If you have read the book, let us know your thoughts.

Are you a SMUGgle?

leave a comment »

I have posted in earlier blogs about how much regard I have for the Mayo Clinic and the social media work that they put in. See this post

This is, to some extent, down to Lee Aase, the social media manager there.   You can learn more about Lee by looking in on his Twitter profile here

Lee seems to have boundless energy to oversee one of the most cohesive social media presences I have seen, to regularly feed his Twitter stream, but also to give unselfishly with something he calls SMUG – The Social Media University, Global.

There is a great deal to like about this website, but I’ll keep my commendations to just two.

Firstly is the way that Lee has created a sense of a spoof university as an environment to present his material about social media.  It even has its own motto – Suus non ut Difficile – which translates into the enabling and reassuring message “It’s not that hard.”

Secondly though is that the SMUG website contains a massive amount of free information about how to use social media.

I recommend this website to anyone who wants to find out more about the how, why and what of social media – and a big thanks to Lee for his service in putting this out there.

Oh, and the SMUGgle thing?  You’ll have to go to his website to find out.

What Is Narrative Medicine?

leave a comment »

As I was reviewing the Mayo Clinic’s various social media channels (see my earlier blog post here) I came across this blog post by former patient/client Jillayn Hey.

Click through on the picture to read the blog in full

That in turn led me to this interview of Lewis Mehl-Madrona and his thoughts on Narrative Medicine.

The article suggests that “Narrative Medicine…asserts the importance of an individual’s whole life story to the person’s health-not just the medical history, but a story that includes ancestors and friends, interests and spiritual orientation.”

Given that the subtitle to this blog is “Thoughts, observations and provocations from the occupational therapy world” I thought this would make for good debate.

To what extent do we agree the premise?

The narrative movement can be seen in many disciplines other than medicine.  Another example can be found in narrative mediation, for example, as a dispute resolution process.

Allow me to break out of the OT silo for a moment, and look over to see what they do there.

Within narrative mediation the conflict that disputants find themselves in is held up as being a story that they are involved in.  Referring to the dispute, or, here, the question of illness or wellbeing, as a story is not intended to diminish how real that situation is.

The “Story” label, however, allows mediators, or maybe practitioners, to deconstruct the story.

  • Who are the players in this story? 
  • Who else is effected by it?
  • What is the plot? 
  • Crucially, what is the outcome?
  • How are we using language to tell this story?
  • How else might we re-tell the story, perhaps to a different audience?

A powerful part of narrative mediation, and I can see no reason why it would not have an impact here, is to set up the problem – the dispute or illness – as an entity within the story.  that in turn enables us to ask questions such as

  • How did this thing called conflict lead you to feel or react?
  • When conflict was around, did you notice anything different?
  • How did the pain invite you to respond to others?

That line of questioning can be developed further

  • What was your relationship like before conflict arrived on the scene?
  • How did you imagine your career progressing before the illness?
  • Can you think of a time when the illness didn’t have stop you from doing something?

and further still by asking

  • Am I right in thinking that you would rather this conflict was not ongoing, that you would like to see an end to it?
  • If so, what other ways might you react when conflict appears? What might you do differently?

and so on.

As the dialogue is developed, conflict, or illness, is first recognised as having an impact on our lives and behaviour.  We then go further and look at how we can explicitly recognise the grasp that it has upon us and how we can start to loosen its grip. 

In the words of Winslade and Monk, authors of Narrative Mediation, we then allow room for alternative, newly created and more helpful narratives, or stories to be constructed by ourselves and retold to others. 

In the words of Jillayn Hey herself “Through telling our personal stories of illness and disease, we assist in creating a new story of wellness that facilitates healing and in turn directs a person towards recovery.”  Note how Jillayn explicitly speaks of her new wellness.  In doing so she brings her new symptoms of being well to the foreground.  If she had not done so, then the grasp, or the narrative, that her former condition had on her own expectations of what it is to live day to day might have continued and therefore limited her activities and perceptions.

What are your thoughts?