Defining occupational therapy

Clare Wilding

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Consistent with the concept that occupation is the foundation stone of occupational therapy, this chapter makes a case for the importance of acknowledging the central position of occupation in all definitions of occupational therapy. Having a clear and easily recognisable definition of occupational therapy is imperative if the profession is to survive current challenges such as competition for limited resources, other professions widening the scope of their practice, and pressure for generic rather thanspecialist workers. However, even though a chorus of occupational therapy leaders has urged the profession to state clearly and explicitly what occupational therapy stands for, occupational therapists have struggled to achieve this aim. The chapter explores a number of reasons why occupational therapists have experienced difficulty describing occupational therapy and concludes that even though there are challenges to defining occupational therapy, this profession can be better articulated by consistently using the word 'occupation' and by explaining the occupational therapy meaning of this term.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOccupational therapy and physical dysfunction
Subtitle of host publicationEnabling occupation
Place of PublicationEdingburgh, England
PublisherElsevier Churchill Livingstone
Number of pages45
Edition6th ed. / 1
ISBN (Print)9780080450841
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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