Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Webinars and Virtual Classrooms

Sarah and Angela held our first webinar a few evenings ago in order to give a taster of working in a virtual classroom. The webinar focused on the MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy programme content, delivery and application issues. Thanks to all who were able to attend - from as far away as Isreal and Belgium - and for engaging in questions and discussions using the virtual learning environment.
Anyone who missed this can see it again here (you may have to register at WiziQ first) - Click on MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy link below:

We are intending to run more of these and will advertise on the blog and Fb group. If you'd like to be informed of any future webinars please let us know.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Who would NOT benefit from Occupational Therapy?

As regular readers of our blog might know our staff discussions here at Salford can be very thought provoking and somewhat challenging. Today we were attempting to think of a client group that would NOT benefit from occupational therapy and used ourselves as a test case.

At the moment we are a very, very stressed team; I personally feel I am drowning in a virtual lake as virtual realities are a theme in my life at the moment and then when I come up for air I am crushed back down by a mound of marking (That makes me feel breathless as I type actually…. Quick, think about air…. Phew). It would be fair to say that although none of us has any diagnosable conditions, we are clearly experiencing a case of occupational imbalance in the form of having too much to do, and not enough of it is fun. Loosely based on the Model of Human Occupation my assessment of our team is as follows.

Volition (Will)
This component of the model requires me to consider the team’s motivations for driving ourselves to distraction. We want to be effective do a good job, have interesting projects on the go, keep our minds occupied and sustain strong relationships with the people who matter to us at home and at work.

Habituation (Drill)

I now need think about how our roles, routines and habits contribute to our current state of flux, and they most certainly do contribute! I have many (often competing and contradictory) roles to juggle. My routines and habits are largely supportive of my worker role, but not so much of my personal life. Some of the factors that impinge on this are out of my control, others are consequent to the choices I make.

Performance (Skill)

Do I have the skills to perform? I do when my head isn’t quite so mashed! But just now, I’m struggling to put a coherent sentence together. My cognitive skills are taking a hit and they are the key requirement for my work, and my ability to manage all other aspects of life. I’m fortunate in realising that my colleagues feel similarly, and also in knowing that the steps to achieving occupational balance are achievable.


Despite having set out only to establish our candidacy for occupational therapy all good occupational therapists will end an assessment with a plan for enhancing occupational balance and/or occupational performance. We will….

Recognise our motivators. I’m happy with them and they are congruent with my personal and professional values.
Assess our work life balance and negotiate appropriate adjustment, creating more opportunity for down time either alone or with friends and family.
Accept that “good enough” is ok.
Acknowledge what is and isn’t in our sphere of control and not sweat the small stuff (or even the big uncontrollable stuff).

Hopefully our plan will create more “head space”, enhanced cognitive functioning and better output in terms of our motivators. In relation to the original question though, what do you think (yes, you)? Who would NOT benefit from occupational therapy?

Neuro-Occupation and Non-linear dynamics - just a thought

Just a short post to share an enlightened moment I had recently. I have been reading and searching for articles and research on issues of cognitive assessment for some potential research and development within virtual environments (more of that later when we have something to tell!) and I came across a site discussing non-linear neuro-dynamics.
Liked the sound of the term - had no idea what it meant so started to explore further and eventually came to Lazzarini's BJOT article on neuro-occupation and the non-linear dynamics of Intention, Meaning and Perception (2004) BJOT 67(8) 342-352.
Fascinating and much of what I read really made sense to me as an occupational therapist. To me the article gives some very clear definition and phrases as to how occupation is seen as a "process" and thus " the dynamic vehicle for the expression of intention through self-organised actions" and how, through engagement and interaction with occupation, "sensory consequences" are experienced and that is when meaning is assigned.
It looks at the term Intention - that most understand this as a conscious goal-directed term in relation to activity but then makes the reader think by suggesting that most activities (daily routines, cooking etc) are "second nature" and that the greatest fulfilment comes from total immersion so that "self-awareness is scattered to the winds" - bit like Wilcock's Doing, Being and Becoming and the concept of "flow".

The article explores many other issues and concepts - but have a read if you can - I can recommend it.