Thinking OT

Thoughts from Harrison Training and the occupational therapy world

What is Occupational Therapy To You?

with 6 comments

The walk to Harrison Training's offices/ What Is Occupational Therapy?

View From The Bridge

I love coming to work at Harrison Training’s offices here in Bradford on Avon.

The walk from the station takes you across the river, filled with waterlillies and cool promises.

From there you go through the old part of town with its stunning Georgian properties and then walk past the church and up some steps, worn through centuries of use.

Steps leading to Harrison TrainingIt is hard not to imagine the lives that have been lived here over the years.

And then my thoughts shift.

How fortunate we are, those of us able to take these walks and enjoy our surroundings because, let there be no doubt, for all of the beauty in this town, accessibility must be a nightmare.

Inevitably, perhaps, I am drawn once again by this consideration of accessibility, to that old chestnut of a question – What is occupational therapy?

Take me as an example.  I am able to draw meaning, pleasure and fulfilment from being in, walking through and interacting with these surroundings.  And I wonder, is that the point?  Is that what occupational therapy is?

When we enable, reable, rehabilitate, when occupation is not career or work, but being meaningfully occupied, or stimulated, is this what we do?

Forgive me my more metaphysical ramblings this morning, but please share your thoughts.

What is it that you do when you do what you do?  What is occupational therapy to you?


6 Responses

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  1. What is it I do, when I do what I do? Great question. From an occupational point of view, I invite people to the edge of their capacity to love.
    In terms of my being-in-the-world, to borrow Merleau-Ponty’s phrase, I seek delight, and strive for grace and beauty. Thank you for asking.

    Vena Ramphal

    July 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

    • Thanks Vena for pitching in. It occurs to me that we could perhaps ask you to consider a guest post in your role as an expert on passion – your thoughts maybe on maintaining physical or non-physical relationships through chronic illness and the like. Interested?


      July 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm

  2. Hard question for me. I can say, I love your pictures and photography. I wish I could walk around the world and capture few moments of life. Like here:
    I also love the digital world and its challenges of regulation. Here I write:
    Technology Law, Information Law, And the border of human rights and Intellectual property. The travel in real life as well as the virtual world I love to meet people and cultures.
    Another hobby? I love cooking. Here I show :
    Last but not least, my fight for keeping the net a safe place for all. Here I train :
    Thank you for asking.


    July 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm

  3. Hello, my friend VirtualOT (Anita Hamilton from Canada) suggested that I leave a comment on this post. First of all, I want to say that WHOAMG BRADFORD ON AVON IS BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am from Malaysia and I have always wanted to go to England, so now that I know of Harrison Training I might just drop by for a visit to see what you guys do there and how you do it. We don’t have such facilities in Malaysia and your mention of leadership and Stephen Covey in one of your posts got my attention too.

    After some consideration, I would just like to say that perhaps your question here should be “What is occupation to you?” which translates to “What activities do you do in your daily life which are purposeful and meaningful to you?” Am I correct?

    I do realise that you are not an occupational therapist (looked around your blog to determine your identity first) so our lingo might be a bit foreign to you. 😉 I consider “occupational therapy” to be a therapeutic process so “What is occupational therapy to you?” might be referring to the client’s perspective or the therapist’s perspective. The therapist’s perspective might be “Well, its my job.” The client’s perspective could even be “I don’t know. The doctor referred me here and I have been coming here for the past 7 years but I don’t think it’s helping.” (which is what happens when one doesn’t practice client-centred OT yet doesn’t discharge the client.)

    So yeah, just some food for thought. I’d like to steal your question to post on my FB notes if you don’t mind. Its good. 🙂

    Jouyin Teoh

    August 1, 2010 at 10:22 am

    • Hello Jouyin, and thanks for dropping by.

      Thank you also for your interesting comments.

      I think when I first wrote the article, I was looking to tap into that old chestnut of a debate “What is occupational therapy” but from a slightly different, more personal, angle.

      What you have done is make the argument much more simple and client focussed;

      Forget about occuaptional therapy, most of our clients, and non-therapists (me included!) aren’t even familiar with the idea of occupation as anything other than our job.

      Please feel free to carry the question to your own blog, I’ll comment there also and put you onto our blog list.

      I’ll develop the theme further here as well.

      You are right to note that I am not an OT. I am one of the associaate trainers with Harrison Training, specialising within the communications and leadership areas, hence the references to Covey and the like.

      At the moment I am also doing the blogging, but expect to see more clinical and practitioner led writing later in the year.


      August 5, 2010 at 9:11 am

  4. […] “What is Occupational Therapy To You?” post last week attracted quite a bit of attention both within the occupational therapy […]

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