Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Holistic Health; Malcolm Knowles Andragogy; Occupational Therapy, Client Needs; Occupational Therapy, History; Occupational Therapy, Trends


Problem: Current practice is that the occupational therapists’ identity has become rooted in the practice setting they are working in versus the core values and beliefs of the profession. Despite the core values and beliefs of the profession, occupational therapists have pigeon-holed themselves as physical or mental health practitioners (Terry & Westcott, 2012). This results in restricted assessments and interventions that are not holistic and often not occupation based (Terry & Westcott, 2012). “Occupational therapy practitioners need to have an understanding of the physical, emotional, and psychosocial aspects of recovery from physical disability to address potential obstacles to their patient’s holistic well-being” (Tully, 2019).

Methods: A literature review was conducted on: 1) the historical changes of occupational therapy to current day, 2) current occupational therapy trends, 3) returning to the holistic roots and 4) reimbursement. Concepts from Malcolm Knowles Andragogy and information from the literature review were used to guide the development of the product.

Conclusion: This scholarly project focuses on the role of occupational therapists working with individuals who have physical disabilities. This is the area, in particular, where occupational therapists may be struggling to meet the psychosocial needs of their clients. Within the physical dysfunction setting, having a holistic viewpoint of the patient is important to be able to address all aspects of the person to provide the most client centered care. The final project is a guide developed for occupational therapists that are practicing in physical disability settings. We believe that the application of this guide can contribute to the professional development needed to address mental health practices within physical disability settings. This could result in an improved therapy outcome and increase therapeutic relationships with clients.