Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Early Definitions of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy has been misunderstood since its inception. As the profession has developed and grown, so too the definition of Occupational Therapy has developed and become more structured and descriptive of the unique role of an Occupational Therapist.

 In order to gain some insight into the origins of the profession, here are 3 of the earlier definitions.
 George Barton in 1914 stated: "If there is an occupational disease, why not an occupational therapy" Barton G: Occupational Therapy. Trained Nurse Hosp Rev 54: 138 - 140, 1915

In 1922 Dr H.A. Pattison MD defined occupational therapy as " any activity, mental or physical, definitely prescribed and guided for the distinct purpose of contributing to and hastening recovery from disease or injury" Pattison HA: The trend of Occupational Therapy for tuberculous. Arch Occup Ther 1:19 - 24, 1922

In 1923 Herbert J. Hall MD describes occupational therapy as: "occupational therapy provides light work under medical supervision for the benefit of patients convalescing in hospitals or in their homes. The handicrafts are used not with the idea of making craftsmen of the patients, but for the purposes of developing physical and mental effectiveness at a time when courage and initiative are at a low ebb" Hall HJ OT. A New Profession. Concord, Mass Rumfrd Press 1923

As you will see from the above three definitions, each definition adds a few concepts or components that the previous one had not included. 

Stay tuned for further developments in the definitions of the profession of occupational therapy.


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