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Research Article  |   March 1986
Liberal Arts: The Foundation for Occupational Therapy Education
Author Affiliations
  • Elizabeth J. Yerxa, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, and Gerald Sharrott, MA, OTR, is Adjunct Instructor of Occupational Therapy; both at the University of Southern California, Downey, CA 90242
Article Information
Ethics / Education of OTs and OTAs / Features
Research Article   |   March 1986
Liberal Arts: The Foundation for Occupational Therapy Education
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 1986, Vol. 40, 153-159. doi:10.5014/ajot.40.3.153
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 1986, Vol. 40, 153-159. doi:10.5014/ajot.40.3.153
Abstract

Occupational therapy lacks a consensus regarding its theory base, technical tools, contribution to society, ethical stance, and relationship to medicine. This study proposes steps to achieve a new consensus and to resolve the crisis focus on entry-level education. The proposed steps include (a) the critical assessment of the educational foundation for practice, (b) the recognition that a liberally educated occupational therapist can serve patients better and meet pressing societal needs, and (c) the pursuit of closer relationships with liberal arts colleges by occupational therapy academic departments. A “new breed” of occupational therapists, that is, therapists who are liberally educated, will be capable of thinking in broad categories and will be open to new ideas and aware of ethical implications; they will be familiar with principles, able to practice from a knowledge base, and prepared to improve the profession’s practice: they will possess the skills to be leaders.