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Research Article  |   September 2006
A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Meaning of a Seminar on Spirituality for Occupational Therapy Students
Author Affiliations
  • Barbara E. Thompson, LCSW, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, The Sage Colleges Occupational Therapy Program, 45 Ferry Street, Troy, New York 12180; thompb@capital.net
  • Cheryl MacNeil, PhD, is Assistant Professor, The Sage Colleges Occupational Therapy Program, Troy, New York
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Education in Occupational Therapy
Research Article   |   September 2006
A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Meaning of a Seminar on Spirituality for Occupational Therapy Students
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2006, Vol. 60, 531-539. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.5.531
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2006, Vol. 60, 531-539. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.5.531
Abstract

There are many unanswered questions about the concept of spirituality and its relationship to occupational performance. The role of occupational therapists in addressing clients’ spiritual needs is unclear, and the inclusion of spirituality as a topic in the educational curricula of occupational therapy students requires further attention. Focus groups and surveys were used in this phenomenological study to explore the lived experiences of 11 occupational therapy students participating in a 3-month graduate seminar entitled “Spirituality in Occupational Therapy Practice.” The study was designed to help occupational therapy faculty better understand how students experience the relationship between occupational therapy and spirituality, and how educational programs can better prepare students to translate theoretical frameworks into practice. Findings explored the students’ evolving belief systems, and began to reveal a diversity of beliefs and practices in the occupational therapy community related to spirituality. Implications for theory and practice are offered.