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Spirituality: a Review of How Occupational Therapists Acknowledge, Assess and Meet Spiritual Needs

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Abstract:

The importance of considering an individual's spirituality and the confusion over definition have been emphasised by the interest shown in this subject over the past decade. A working definition to help to reduce confusion was presented at the College of Occupational Therapists' annual conference in 2004 and it was felt that it would be useful both to review the attitudes and practices of occupational therapists in this area and to evaluate how they assess and meet spiritual needs. It appeared that practical spiritual needs were often thought of only in terms of religious and cultural traditions or rituals and, as a result, the potential of everyday meaningful occupations was not considered fully.

Therefore, the use of occupation was reviewed in relation to meeting spiritual needs. Finally, the perceived barriers to incorporating spirituality into practice were investigated. The review showed that:

▪ Although a majority of participants recognise the importance of spirituality to health and illness and the potential benefits to treatment, the number of therapists actually incorporating spiritual needs into daily practice does not demonstrate this recognition

▪ Some occupational therapists feel confident about addressing and assessing spiritual concerns explicitly, but this tends to be situation based and dependent on factors such as client-therapist relationship, therapist awareness of spiritual issues and the expression of spiritual need by the client

▪ Further exploration of the potential of everyday occupations that address the spiritual needs of both religious and non-religious clients needs to be undertaken

▪ Spirituality needs to be addressed more fully in undergraduate occupational therapy programmes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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