Sustaining a Focus on Occupation in Community Mental Health Practice

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Occupational therapists working in community mental health teams (CMHTs) are often challenged to justify their unique approach to health through occupation, within an environment that tends to press for generic working. Such a challenge requires practitioners to identify and communicate evidence that supports their unique occupational contribution. In the absence of extensive robust and relevant research evidence, it is suggested that the contribution of theoretical evidence be considered.

This paper, therefore, explores the potential of occupational justice and its related concepts to provide the profession with a theoretical justification for occupational therapists adopting an occupation-focused role in CMHTs. It begins with an overview of how CMHTs, generic working and occupational science have evolved. The concept of occupational justice and its related occupational risk factors are then analysed in relation to practice. The potential conflict between the professional commitment to client-centred practice and the generic worker model is also discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for further exploration and consideration.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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

    Submissions can be made at

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

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