Kirsty Forsyth, PhD, SROT, OTR
Physical Disability and Mental Health Challenges, Scotland
As a clinician,
educator, and researcher I have always felt that occupational therapy
had a powerful unique contribution to health. The Model of Human Occupation
supported me, even as a young clinician, to embrace the complexity of
peoples occupational lives. Using a conceptual models of practice specifically
focus around the central driving feature of OT- the therapeutic use of
occupation - allowed me to have a strong professional identity and develop
strong skills around supporting clients engagement in occupation.
As a clinician I
was attracted to MOHO because it was based on a scholarship
of practice philosophy. As a clinician I felt academics did not
value my contribution to research and theory development - even though
everyday I was engaging people in occupation! The Scholarship of Practice
approach, on which MOHO is built, actively sought out my clinical experience.
It was seen as pivotal to how theory and application developed. At
last - an academic unit that was prepared to hear clinical voices -
an academic unit that was focused on developing practice.
In addition to being a clinician, I am now an educator and researcher.
The Model of Human Occupation provides a mechanism for translating “artful” practice
from expert clinicians to OT students. Students need to be able to understand
the clinical reasoning and decision making of expert clinicians so that
they themselves can develop these skills. It provides a language for
experienced OTs and OT students to discuss complex cases and have a mechanism
to illuminate the multifaceted complex issues of people occupational
As a researcher,
MOHO provides a framework for rigorous scientific inquiry. Theoretical
constructs can be examined, assessments can be validated, intervention
structures identified and understood, client experiences can be explored,
and the efficacy of OT can be investigated. A framework like MOHO can
be used to research cultural differences around engagement in occupation
and provides a language for OTs around the world to discuss their clients
Everyday I am reminded
of the privilege of being an occupational therapist - supporting people
to choose to engage in meaningful, valued occupations, develop a sense
of their own abilities and limitations, have satisfaction and enjoyment
from occupations, develop habitual routines around these occupations,
and take on responsibilities which provided a sense of personal significance
- it is truly joyful work.