Occupational therapy, gender and mental health: an inclusive perspective?

POLLARD, Nick and WALSH, Susan (2000). Occupational therapy, gender and mental health: an inclusive perspective? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63 (9), 425-431.

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Official URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cot/bjot/200...

Abstract

This article offers an understanding of how the gendered nature of occupational therapy has an impact on relationships between therapist and client, qualified staff and support workers, and occupational therapy managers and workers. It analyses the development of occupational therapy from its early, mainly female and middle-class, origins and explores how the profession has struggled to define its status and role to fit structures determined by the medical profession. The tensions that these pressures have exerted on occupational therapy’s original concerns with domestic and creative activities are considered, drawing on feminist theories and sociological interpretations of gender and professional development in the context of mental health. It is argued that in trying to meet medicine’s demand for a more scientific occupational therapy as well as orientate rehabilitation to returning clients to work, occupational therapists risk, first, losing sight of their core domestic activities and traditional caring roles and, secondly, devaluing the skills and abilities of their support worker colleagues. The article suggests that occupational therapists should claim domestic activities as central to practice and reconsider the feminine principles of caring, connectedness and the importance of relationships to produce a wholly inclusive and reflective practice.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Depositing User: Nicholas Pollard
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2011 14:57
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2011 14:57
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3012

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