This post is about pondering a problem facing an amazing profession. A profession that strives to help others to attain independence and yet itself has a handicap. That handicap is lack of awareness and understanding of what the profession is and how it can benefit others.
I am busy reading the excellent book "Occupational Therapy: Foundations for Practice - Models, Frames of Reference and Core Skills" by Rosemary Hagedorn. It's one of the fundamental must reads of our profession. I've had the book for years and am busy re-reading it. Right near the beginning of the book in the section on "coping with terminology" (pg 6), Rosemary Hagedorn points out that the meanings of terminology changes from one book to the next and from country to country. Granted the book was published in 1992 and there has been development in the profession, however by 1992 occupational therapy had been a profession for at least 75 years and so I would expect consistency in terminology.
I think back to the start of this blog where I began to outline the definition of the profession:
I began researching the best definition and found that there are so many out there. That is partly why I have not completed writing the theme of posts on the definition of the profession. I must admit it began to become confusing. The definition of occupational therapy has changed over the years and is different from country to country and one OT association to another. If the definition is not constant and the terminology is also subject to change, is it a wonder that the profession is not well understood?
The fact that there is little awareness and acknowledgement of a profession that has so much to offer is something that has bothered me from the start. More and more I find myself on a quest to discover why the profession is so misunderstood and what we as trained, licensed occupational therapists can do to help to gain in credibility and appreciation. It bothers me that the more I go back to reading the foundations of the profession, the more I am finding that there are inconsistencies within the profession itself. Can it be that this inconsistency is what is aggravating the problem thus resulting in an incredible profession lacking the respect it deserves?
I apologize if I upset any OT's out there. I do not have the answers and am just mulling over the question. However, we are living in an age of information overload, so how can it be that OT as a profession is still lacking in understanding and credibility?
I am so much looking forward to the profession of occupational therapy being as well understood as the fireman, gardener, plumber or any other well known profession. It's about time that the reality of an OT can be to introduce oneself and ones profession and receive a response that makes you 100% certain that the other person knows just what that means. I am so looking forward to not having to explain my profession every time I say Hi, my name is Shoshanah and I am an occupational therapist.
So, I would love to hear the thoughts of fellow OT's, OT students, anyone in the medical team. What are your thoughts as to why OT is not well understood? Is it perhaps due to too many definitions out there? Is it due to too many changes to the definition of the profession? Is the fact that the core terminology changes from book to book and country to country having a negative impact on the profession's potential to gain the respect it deserves? Do we need to create more consistency within the profession itself in order to have more recognition?
These are my thoughts for the morning. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a very blessed day and remember to jot your comment down in the comment section below.
Occupational Therapist, Healing Facilitator
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