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Research Article  |   May 1998
Meaning and Misunderstanding in Occupational Forms: A Study of Therapeutic Goal Setting
Author Affiliations
  • Gary Kielhofner, DrPh, OTR/L, is Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Associated Health Professions, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7250. He also is Foreign Adjunct Professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Laura Barrett, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapy Program Coordinator, Chicago-Read Mental Health Center, Illinois Department of Human Services, Chicago, Illinois
Article Information
Special Issue on Occupation-Centered Practice and Education / Guest Editor Wendy Wood
Research Article   |   May 1998
Meaning and Misunderstanding in Occupational Forms: A Study of Therapeutic Goal Setting
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1998, Vol. 52, 345-353. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.5.345
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1998, Vol. 52, 345-353. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.5.345
Abstract

Objective. This study examined occupational therapists’ use of the occupational form of goal setting as therapy and its impact on clients.

Method. The study method was qualitative, using participant observation and interviewing as the main source of data.

Results. The findings illustrated that therapists work both to give substance to the occupational form and to create the context of an implied narrative that imbues it with particular meanings. Simultaneously, clients’ experience of meaning is influenced by a personal volitional narrative. When the two narratives do not coincide, therapists’ efforts to maintain the occupational form intensify as they encourage clients toward attitudes and performances that do not resonate with the clients’ experience of reality.

Conclusion. The findings underscore the importance of recognizing that occupational forms are embedded in social processes and perspectives that inevitably come into play when occupational forms are used as therapy.