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Research Article  |   November 2003
The Nature of Clinical Reasoning With Groups: A Phenomenological Study of an Occupational Therapist in Community Mental Health
Author Affiliations
  • Judith D. Ward, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824. Mailing address: 235 Packers Falls Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824; jjaz@comcast.net
Article Information
Mental Health / Mental Health
Research Article   |   November 2003
The Nature of Clinical Reasoning With Groups: A Phenomenological Study of an Occupational Therapist in Community Mental Health
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2003, Vol. 57, 625-634. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.6.625
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November/December 2003, Vol. 57, 625-634. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.6.625
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this paper is to examine the clinical reasoning of an occupational therapist in group practice in mental health. It emerged from a larger phenomenological study of expert occupational therapy practitioners in community mental health.

METHOD. Data were gathered through intensive, semi-structured interviews with 1 day of participant observation. Analysis was an iterative process in which emerging themes were identified for reflection and interpretation. Previously established categories of clinical reasoning were used as a structure for describing the results.

RESULTS. A rich description of clinical reasoning in psychosocial task groups is presented using interactive, narrative, conditional, and pragmatic reasoning. The gestalt of community practice is illustrated, as the therapist describes the multiple levels of consciousness used in her consideration of, and response to, clients within the context of the larger environment.

CONCLUSION. This study suggests that an examination of occupational therapy with psychosocial groups is a rich area for research to extend our understanding of clinical reasoning in occupational therapy.