Title

An Exploration of Therapists, Personal Context as an Aspect of Pragmatic Reasoning

Start Time

26-10-2007 11:45 AM

End Time

26-10-2007 1:45 PM

Abstract

Burke (2001) found that therapists whose beliefs and professional knowledge were grounded in occupation implemented an assessment tool differently than their colleagues whose reasoning and beliefs were less grounded in occupation. Further, clinical reasoning grounded in occupation produced practices that were unique and did not duplicate services rendered by other disciplines. Beliefs about the role of occupation in assessment and intervention, assumptions about the human as an occupational being, and values about what is core to the practice of occupational therapy are part of a therapist’s personal context. Therapists‚ clinical reasoning, specifically pragmatic reasoning, is theorized to be influenced by their personal context, meaning their values, beliefs, assumptions, skills and life circumstances. Little data has supported the role of personal context as a component of pragmatic reasoning. This study explored how occupational therapists portray the connections of their personal beliefs, assumptions, and life circumstances (personal context) to their clinical reasoning and practice. A qualitative, multiple case-survey design was used. Interview and observation data from two previous studies were pooled. 7 expert therapists working within a rehabilitation model were interviewed; 4 were observed. Data were coded for therapists‚ beliefs and their relation to practice. Coded data were then compiled into matrices to map the belief-practice connection. First, personal context was found to influence therapists‚ perceptions of what it means to BE an occupational therapist. Therapists described a profound personal congruence with the profession. Through occupational therapy, they expressed their identity, spirituality, and grew personally. Second, personal context influenced perceptions of what it means to DO occupational therapy. Therapists interacted with clients in ways consistent with their personal belief, whether grounded in occupation or not. Therapists used personal beliefs to explain why it was important to get to know clients, individualize therapy, and monitor bias. Personal context directly influenced interpersonal practice and how therapists made sense of their work and indirectly influenced procedural practice by shaping the meaning therapists‚ assigned to, and the explanations they gave for, their procedural practice. Personal context was interpreted as a continuous, meaning-making influence on clinical reasoning and practice overall rather than an aspect of pragmatic reasoning.

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Oct 26th, 11:45 AM Oct 26th, 1:45 PM

An Exploration of Therapists, Personal Context as an Aspect of Pragmatic Reasoning

Burke (2001) found that therapists whose beliefs and professional knowledge were grounded in occupation implemented an assessment tool differently than their colleagues whose reasoning and beliefs were less grounded in occupation. Further, clinical reasoning grounded in occupation produced practices that were unique and did not duplicate services rendered by other disciplines. Beliefs about the role of occupation in assessment and intervention, assumptions about the human as an occupational being, and values about what is core to the practice of occupational therapy are part of a therapist’s personal context. Therapists‚ clinical reasoning, specifically pragmatic reasoning, is theorized to be influenced by their personal context, meaning their values, beliefs, assumptions, skills and life circumstances. Little data has supported the role of personal context as a component of pragmatic reasoning. This study explored how occupational therapists portray the connections of their personal beliefs, assumptions, and life circumstances (personal context) to their clinical reasoning and practice. A qualitative, multiple case-survey design was used. Interview and observation data from two previous studies were pooled. 7 expert therapists working within a rehabilitation model were interviewed; 4 were observed. Data were coded for therapists‚ beliefs and their relation to practice. Coded data were then compiled into matrices to map the belief-practice connection. First, personal context was found to influence therapists‚ perceptions of what it means to BE an occupational therapist. Therapists described a profound personal congruence with the profession. Through occupational therapy, they expressed their identity, spirituality, and grew personally. Second, personal context influenced perceptions of what it means to DO occupational therapy. Therapists interacted with clients in ways consistent with their personal belief, whether grounded in occupation or not. Therapists used personal beliefs to explain why it was important to get to know clients, individualize therapy, and monitor bias. Personal context directly influenced interpersonal practice and how therapists made sense of their work and indirectly influenced procedural practice by shaping the meaning therapists‚ assigned to, and the explanations they gave for, their procedural practice. Personal context was interpreted as a continuous, meaning-making influence on clinical reasoning and practice overall rather than an aspect of pragmatic reasoning.