Do we really need another model of occupational therapy?

Today I was attending a study day for yet another model of Occupational Therapy. I won’t say which one, it’s not really relevant. It left me questioning the discussion of yet another model of practice.

As occupational therapists we have all the knowledge, skills and ability to work with difficult hard to engage people. Yet we continue to create models which we can barely articulate ourselves despite all being educated to degree level and then we have to try to explain it to clients and the MDT. Complex words that have no place in any ordinary conversation eg. self differentiation, volition etc that we then have to reinterpret because no one else knows what they mean.

What on earth are we doing?

Use your client centred skills, listen and observe, ask clients what they would like, what they hope would be different. Take time to really listen to what they want and need. Let them be the expert rather than give them yet another label to add to their arsenal.

Explore with them what is meaningful for them, not what happens to be in the cupboard. Break down the tasks, then break them down some more then analyse the activity and work out how to enable the person to change in the direction they have chosen without any option of failing.

Make it a safe space, ensure you engage fully with clients and create a therapeutic relationship. Check out the activity is meaningful, ask them what a difference it would make. Get them to rate theirselves. Believe them, they are an expert in who they are and their experiences

Before and after every group or activity you deliver get clients to rate where they are, and again after the groups or activity what change/difference they have noticed. Give your clients the opportunity to make suggestions for change. Enable autonomy, independence choice and control. This is occupational therapy!

Occupational therapists create change. Believe in your own skills and abilities.

So no I don’t believe we need another model of practice we already have have all we need to deliver the change our clients want and need.

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About Margaret Spencer

For the kind of collaborative supervision you have always wanted. Are you are passionate and enthusiastic about occupational therapy? Are you working in the NHS, third sector, independently or for a private company? Would you like your supervision to enhance, and develop your professional practice? If you answer yes to any of the above I would love to hear from you. Have a look at my website to see where we could work together. I have supported many occupational therapists in developing a service from scratch,. I have worked with OT's to design training packages for support staff in older adult falls services, I continually carriy out audits in psychiatric intensive care units, and learning disabilities forensic services. On behalf of commissioners I have completed service reviews in learning disabilities from 2002 onwards. I complete individual HCPC audits with OT staff in many different clinical areas, am involved in yearly appraisals, and monthly supervision sessions. I also critique, design and write job descriptions. I shortlist and interview for all levels of OT post from Band 5-8. What ever your needs I can support you.

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