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

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

How Much have we Changed?..........

A Happy New Year to all our readers and followers. Here's to 2012 and to a year when occupational therapy continues to develop and progress and occupational therapists continue to link together across the world. There are a number of ways to link and promote what you do as an OT - see Karen Jacobs' Global Day of Service and of course OT4OT who will hopefully begin to plan what we are doing for World OT Day this year (watch this space!)  Don't forget to find us on Facebook also (Occupational Therapy at the University of Salford UK)

Now, it goes without saying that one of my (many) new year resolutions is to be a better blogger! My intention is to be more active as a commenter on other's blogs and write more posts for this one - we'll see how we get on. However, over the last couple of years more OTs than ever are blogging about their role and their experience - see our OT Network link at the top of the page for a list of some of these - more will continue to be added soon.

Whilst I am in a reflective mood - and whilst promoting OT may be big on the agenda this year (I think I am right in thinking that the BAOT/COT will be 80 years old this year - I wonder if there will be any celebrations?) I have decided to share with you some of the discussions that were around in 1932/33 about 'occupation therapy' taken from a "Board of Control Memorandum on Occupation Therapy for Mental Patients" HMSO Ref: 37051.

It is clear that terminology has changed - but so has much more- hopefully! It may be good to see where we have come from in the last 80 years........

"Definition: Occupation Therapy is the treatment, under medical direction, of physical or mental disorders by the application of occupation and recreation with the object of promoting recovery, of creating new habits and of preventing deterioration"

"Purpose: Rest may be essential in acute states, but, if unduly prolonged, it is attended with no less undesirable results in cases of mental disorder than in physical disorders. At the earliest possible moment, therefore, the use of the mind should be promoted by the mildest measures of occupation or by encouraging the patient to take interest in things external to himself."

"Occupation therapy provides at least a means whereby he may escape from the boredom of inactivity, and from depression"

" Monotony is the bane of institutional life; occupation is a form of treatment especially calculated to counteract it"
The memo then goes on, in summary, to  suggest that women should be employed in the kitchens and laundry of the hospital and men on the farm or garden and in maintenance of the building.
Recommendations for "handicrafts" include poultry keeping and hat making for women and french polishing and brush making for men.

It states that one 'occupation therapist' should be employed for each side of a hospital of 1000 beds on a pay scale of £200-£300 per annum. Occupation Therapists can be trained at Dorset House under the direction of Dr Elizabeth Casson. "The course extends over 2 years; if the student  has already a thorough knowledge of crafts the course may be completed in one year."

The Board of Control (1933) then sets out what training it expects of an occupation therapist over two years to include:
a) Nine months to one year devoted to the learning of crafts in an approved school
b) A series of lectures on basic subjects, with clinical demonstrations of cases suffering from physical and mental illness
c) A period of training in a mental hospital - six months would be sufficient
d) A short course in a large colony for defectives
e) three months training in recreational activities including indoor and outdoor games, dancing, drill, music, dramatics etc

Here at Salford we will begin the process of revalidation for our UG programme this year - maybe we should consider some of this :-)??. How much has changed do you think??
Looking forward to more blogging through the year - please feel free to comment on this or any of our posts (past and future).



Sandra Green said...

Sounds lovely and relaxing! They did have it easy! :) I think that the training has defiantly changed for he better.

Anonymous said...

Instead of a "short course in a colony of defectives", how about a "short trip to the ex-colonies"?!

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matthew Occupational Therapist said...

Good luck with the new year resolution - it's all about finding the time!

Ebby SIgmund said...

I enjoyed reading this post, especially about the fact that more OTs are blogging now. It's such a great way for people to share ideas and experiences. I started my blog last year and am blogging frequently just now as it is the journal of a study visit to the US to investigate the Lifestyle redesign approach in OT and how it can be used to improve the hospital to home interface for older people. The URL is:
I have really enjoyed doing the blog, and it's good finding others so I was pleased to see the OT Network at the top of your page.

Angela said...

Thanks Ebby, I look forward to reading your blog - sounds very interesting

leehuck said...

A career as an occupational therapy assistant will offer you a great number of benefits, rewards and other positive factors. From one person to the next, every individual may have a different reason for getting started down this path, or for why they love it as much as they do.

Lee Huck @ Occupational therapist assistant schools