Free
Research Article  |   May 1998
Putting Occupation Into Practice: Occupation as Ends, Occupation as Means
Author Affiliations
  • Julie McLaughlin Gray, MA,OTR, is Clinical Instructor of Occupational Therapy and PhD student in Occupational Science, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar CHP-133, Los Angeles, California 90033
Article Information
Special Issue on Occupation-Centered Practice and Education / Guest Editor Wendy Wood
Research Article   |   May 1998
Putting Occupation Into Practice: Occupation as Ends, Occupation as Means
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1998, Vol. 52, 354-364. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.5.354
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1998, Vol. 52, 354-364. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.5.354
Abstract

This article addresses a difficulty that many occupational therapists experience: maintaining occupation as the core of their therapeutic intervention. This difficulty not only results from but also contributes to occupational therapy’s struggle with professional identity. Current manifestations of the problem are described as component-driven practice and the narrowing of occupation to basic activities of daily living. The concepts of occupation as ends and occupation as means are proposed as a practical solution to guide treatment planning and merge remediation and adaptation within a single occupational session. Each concept is investigated in terms of its history within the profession and its usefulness for analyzing and solving therapeutic problems. These concepts are discussed as useful guidelines to help occupational therapists not only in their clinical decision making but also in their understanding and expression of the field’s unique expertise. A case example, applying occupation as ends and occupation as means to evaluation and treatment, is presented.