Monthly Archives: October 2009

Occupational therapy is just commonsense isn’t it?

NO NO No!!!

I don’t know how many times I have heard an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy student say “its just commonsense” when someone comments on something that has been suggested or recommended by the occupational therapist. After all doesn’t everyone know how to set goals, how to use a problem solving process or know that being well occupied contributes to self worth and self identity?

No !! If it was that easy everyone would just do it. Yes some but not all people do know about theses things but many struggle with how to bring them about . In the case of goal setting knowing how to not only set an achievable goal but to break it down to achievable steps to, work out how to remain focused on the goal, to learn how to plan for and scale any barriers that may be in the way and to celebrate the successes especially when one is coping with change, injury, disbility, illness or changed circumstance is difficult.

It’s definitely not just commonsense rather skilled artistry on the behalf of the therapist in getting alongside the person and making the difficult seem achievable.  Just as being well occupied, engaging in a range of satisfying occupations can require careful consideration of the environment, the person and the occupation/task or activity  by the therapist in order to bring it about successfully enabling the  person to experience meaningful engagement and the feelings of wellbeing that go with it.

The good bit (and sometimes the hard bit) is if we are good at what we do many don’t notice the intervention it just worked -they did it and slowly the skill of goal setting, problem solving, and the ability to bring about being well occupied moves from being facilitated by the occupational therapist  to being within the clients arsonal of skill to use as and when needed and so it begins to becomes the every day, and as that happens the illusion of commonsense develops.

I am not saying others can’t bring these things about however an occupational therapists ability to manipulate context rather than the person is a pretty unique skill.

The dictionary says commonsense is: “good sense and sound judgement in practical matters” so perhaps occupational therapy is commonsense – but perhaps commonsense isn’t all that common? Perhaps occupational therapists amongst other things are builders of commonsense?

Here ends my first rant and first blog for ages…

So visitors to this blog – Is occupational therapy just commonsense?