Research Article
Issue Date: September 1987
Published Online: September 01, 1987
Updated: April 30, 2020
Activity: Occupational Therapy’s Treatment Method
Author Affiliations
  • Claudia Kay Allen, MA, OTR, FAOTA, is Chief of Occupational Therapy in Psychiatry at the Los Angeles County/ University of Southern California Medical Center and Clinical Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California, 1934 Hospital Place, Los Angeles, California 90033
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Features / 1987 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture
Research Article   |   September 01, 1987
Activity: Occupational Therapy’s Treatment Method
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1987, Vol. 41, 563-575.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1987, Vol. 41, 563-575.
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A philosphical framework to explain the value of using activity as a treatment method is the challenge pursued for this lectureship. Primary resources came from Soviet psychology, the only social science discipline using the concept of activity as a focus of study. The focus of study selected for occupational therapy is disability, which is explained within the context of doing an activity. The patient’s purpose for doing an activity is described by the degree of sensorimotor thought processed during a functional state. A hierarchy of activity analysis is used to begin the development of typologies for feasible operations, satisfactory results, and desirable activities. The philosophical framework is applied to three types of patient populations that pose problems in stating treatment objectives, patients that have (a) a good prognosis but one that is associated with alternative explanations for change, (b) a poor prognosis associated with a lifelong disability, and (c) a grave prognosis associated with a progressive loss of functional abilities. A refined treatment hypothesis is suggested: Therapeutic activity compensates for disability by using remaining capabilities to accomplish desirable activities with satisfactory results.