From practice to praxis: Reconnecting moral vision with philosophical underpinnings

Clare Wilding, Gail Whiteford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, it is argued that in order to meet the profession's ethical and moral obligations, occupational therapists need to ensure they are connected to the philosophical foundations of occupational therapy. By making occupational therapy practice occupation-focused, therapists guarantee that they provide a unique and valuable contribution to multidisciplinary teams and that they help to meet all the needs of patients. Findings from an action research study of 15 occupational therapists' practice in an urban Australian, acute hospital setting are used to illustrate that occupational therapy practice can and should be occupation-focused. Research data was gathered through audio- recording and transcribing individual interviews and research group meetings. Data was analysed qualitatively using non-linear formal and informal processes. The findings included: having a clear professional vision increased the confidence of co-researchers; attending to patients' occupational needs increased the therapists' motivation to engage in more occupation-focused practice; and, therapists felt increased satisfaction when their practice was occupation-focused. The article concludes by advocating that occupational therapists can be wiser and more ethical practitioners by engaging in praxis, a form of moral, reflective practice scholarship, particularly through participating in communities of practice that focus on understanding and developing ways of enabling occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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