Today I went to a lunch time seminar the speaker was Rosemary who had been a lecturer at our school of occupational therapy until her retirement last year. She is now finding time to do a PHD. It was a really interesting talk on using popular literature to gain an understanding of Occupational Therapy – an understanding of occupation and an understanding of the human condition.
Two things I have taken from or thought about since the talk:
Occupational therapists recognise in all occupations the technical skill e.g. in baking a cake (the techniques such as creaming butter and sugar together, measuring ingredients, using the stove etc). But when you read a popular literature story (or even a children’s story) that involves baking a cake the reader realises as occupational therapists do when working with clients that there is much more to baking a cake than the technical skills. Why is baking a cake important to that person?, why do you decide to bake a cake?, what do they gain from baking it?, how does doing it impact or affect who we are? As we work with our clients/patients as occupational therapists we believe that all of these things are implicit to why people choose to engage in certain occupations.
So the occupation of baking a cake and most occupations are complex they are not just about the technical skill but also tell us about the human condition. As we work with our clients/patients as occupational therapists we know that many things contribute to why people choose to engage in certain occupations.
The other piece of food for thought as an educator is that occupational therapy students and occupational therapists need to know as much as they can about occupations and the human condition. How do we get this knowledge when we only have our own experiences. Rosemary suggests that ‘good’ popular literature is a way to come to a greater understanding.