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professional philosophy

set of values, beliefs, truths, and principles that guide the education, practice, and scholarship of the profession.



Concerned with nature of humankind and addresses how humans engage, organize their lives, and find meaning and interact with others. OT practitioners are committed to holistic and humanistic practice.



Related to the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge and investigates such questions as "How do we know things?" and "How do we know that we know?" Provides base for understanding motivation, change and learning.



Concerned with the study of values. This area explores questions of desirability and questions of ethics, such as "What are the standards and rules of right conduct?" For OTs, this includes client-centered care, quality of life, and ethics.


reductionistic approach

US healthcare system generally operates this way; humankind reduced to separately functioning body parts. Professionals specialize and treat specific areas independently.


holistic approach

Perspective traced to Adolf Meyer's philosophy of OT. Emphasizes organic and functional relationship between parts and the whole being. Interaction of biological, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual elements. If one element is disrupted, it reflects throughout the whole.


active beings

People are actively involved in controlling and determining their own behavior and are capable of changing behavior as desired. People are viewed as open systems in which there is continuous interaction between person and environment. Person affects environment; environment affects person.


occupational performance

The ability to carry out activities of daily life.



Pattern of behavior that involves certain rights and duties that an individual is expected, trained, and encouraged to perform in a particular social situation. Influences daily occupations.


Occupation as a means and an end

As a means: Use of specific occupation to bring about a change in the client's performance.
As an end: Desired outcome or product of intervention, derived from person's values, experiences and culture.


Things occupation may be used by OT for:

• health promotion and wellness
• remediation or restoration
• health maintenance
• disease and injury prevention
• compensation
• adaptation



"A change in function that promotes survival and self-actualization." Adaptation takes place as part of the normal developmental progression, in the process of adjusting to stress or change. People adapt by doing.


Core values and attitudes of OT:

Altruism, equality, freedom, justice, dignity, truth, and prudence.



Unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Part of the OT Code of Ethics/humanism.



Ability to demonstrate sound judgment, care and discretion. Part of the OT Code of Ethics/humanism.


Philosophical base of OT includes:

• Occupation as means and end
• Humans are active beings
• Engagement in occupation
• Holism
• Purposeful activities
• Potential for change
• Humanism and Values (Code of ethics)
• Client-centered approach
• Learning entails experience, thinking, feeling, and doing



The belief that the client should be treated as a person, not an object. Basis of OT. Goes further into concepts of altruism, equality, freedom, justice, dignity, truth and prudence (core values of OT).