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

Friday, 11 June 2010

Dr Michael Iwama's visit......

We were fortunate enough this week to have Dr Michael Iwama visit us at the university as part of his current UK tour. Having just appointed him as one of our Honorary Professors within the directorate of occupational therapy it was doubly enjoyable to officially welcome him to his new role and to spend time with him as a team discussing future projects and plans.
I hope you don't mind Michael, but I would like to share your comments previously made here:
  • "The prospect of pursuing an adjunct or honorary professorship at University of Salford would not only be an honour; it would also formally bring me closer to your faculty and students. I have gone on record to say how much I respect and admire your program, and consider your's to be one of the leading and progressive programs in our profession in the world".
Discussions began with the view that historically occupational therapy was seen very much as a profession that "borrowed" theory from other professions such as psychology and medicine but now we seem to be the only health profession (certainly within those in Allied Health) that has its own models of practice. This should be celebrated as making us unique, strong and focused.

However, the age old issue of how one quantifies outcome measures for such things as quality of life in order to demonstrate cost effectiveness was raised and in forever changing times within the UK health and social care systems this is definitiely a point worth continued discussion.

Michael then told us more about his own career path and background - but I won't steal his thunder in presenting that here - you can find out more about him in other arenas I'm sure. He has certainly led a very busy and interesting life to date - and talks about it with both integrity and humour!

A number of provisional projects were mooted between individuals on the team and Michael that we hope will continue to fruition in the near future (watch this space!!)

The morning session was then concluded with a small gift for Michael from the University to welcome him to his Honorary Professor role. This gift had been intended to be given to him at the WFOT conference in Chile, but was in Sarah's Case - which regular readers will know went missing for about 6 weeks and never actually made it to conference. All is well now though.

The afternoon was opened up to approximately 150 practitioners and students for a seminar by Michael on the Kawa Model. Whilst some may have initially felt daunted that such a "name" was in front of them, Michael's charismatic presentation style soon relaxed everyone and we were hanging on his every word for the entire session.

It is not relevant to go into every detail of either the model (which can be found elsewhere) or on the presentation and discussion (as this may spoil it for future venues on the UK tour). In summary the Model was developed in order to privilege the narrative of the individual. In all other models it is suggested that the individual's narrative is taken and transposed into the language of that model which can often then have little meaning to that individual. The Kawa Model therefore offers a paradigm shift where the narrative is vital.

The other point very clearly made was that the Kawa Model is not a meta-narrative i.e it can be adapted and altered as necessary to suit the needs of the individual. The metaphor is the vital ingredient - and if the river is not working for someone then change it! One of our team (Kirsty) talked about using this within her work with families and using the metaphor of rock climbing instead as this held value and meaning to the specific individual.

The day was productive, informative, enjoyable and entertaining and we thank you Michael for taking the time to visit and for sharing your thoughts and expertise in such a generous and warm way. We are all looking forward to working more closely with you in the future.

1 comment:

Anita Hamilton said...

Thanks for giving us this lovely account of Michael Iwama's visit. I am a very big fan of the model and use it in my teaching here at the University of Alberta regularly.

I have found that the newest generation of graduates here in my part of Canada are taking to the Kawa model more easily than the CMOP-E, MOHO and PEO(P) models. I think that this is because GenY has evolved as a pseudo-collectivist culture compared with Gen X and the Boomers. So many reasons why (no time to discuss this now).

I envy the fact that you will have Michael Iwama as part of your team. Congrats!
Cheers, Anita.