Use Of Occupation In Occupational Therapy

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Use of occupation in occupational therapy

Use of occupation in occupational therapy


Throughout their working day, Occupational Therapists must make many decisions concerning the actions they take with their clients. These decisions are based on the therapist drawing on their professional clinical, ethical and legal reasoning skills (Alsop 1996).

The practice of Occupational Therapists in the United Kingdom is regulated by many Acts of Parliament. Occupational therapy practice in all possible areas of service must take place within the boundaries of the law and specific legislation to guide work with specific client groups exists such as The Childrens Act 1989, and The Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Act 1995. Other Acts influence the working practice of Occupational Therapists; these include The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and The Data Protection Act 1984. It is important for Occupational Therapists to have an accurate and up-to-date knowledge because their client's needs may be met through the enactment of an act of parliament.

In 1998 a survey of American Occupational Therapists, (Kyler 1998), revealed that around fifty-percent of therapists interviewed reported that they were confronted with an ethical issue at work at least weekly during the course of their work. The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Occupational Therapists, hereafter referred to as “the code of ethics”, (College of Occupational Therapists 2000) provides one resource that therapists can use when making decisions regarding their services to clients.

The standards prescribed in a professional code of ethics may reflect legislation, but it is not law. Ethical reasoning helps individuals to determine the types of activity or actions that are right and wrong, both with the society that the profession serves and with colleagues. If a therapist were found to have acted against their professional code of ethics, it would not necessarily result in criminal or civil proceedings. However, this does not imply that a code of ethics can be broken without consequence. The professional standards that govern the practice of occupational therapy are a blend of ethics and law. If a code of ethics is broken or un-professional behaviour discovered, it might also represent a violation of the law which could be punishable by the justice system as well the regulating body of a profession such as The College of Occupational Therapists.


The systematic and detailed study of occupations is challenging to occupational therapists, who would wish to understand better their meanings and therapeutic value. Such a study must attempt to capture the complexities of occupational form and performance, recognising occupations as spatially, socially and temporally situated phenomena that are culturally recognised and individually experienced.

Autoethnography is a methodological approach in which the researcher is the focus of the research. It offers a way of accessing personal experience by focusing on physical artefacts, documentary evidence and reflections, and so is particularly useful for studying the complexity of occupational engagement. The treatment process and core skills of the occupational therapist should be based on a problem solving ...
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