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Kirsty Forsyth, PhD, SROT, OTR
Physical Disability and Mental Health Challenges, Scotland

As a clinician, educator, and researcher I have always felt that occupational therapy had a powerful unique contribution to health. The Model of Human Occupation supported me, even as a young clinician, to embrace the complexity of peoples occupational lives. Using a conceptual models of practice specifically focus around the central driving feature of OT- the therapeutic use of occupation - allowed me to have a strong professional identity and develop strong skills around supporting clients engagement in occupation.

As a clinician I was attracted to MOHO because it was based on a scholarship of practice philosophy. As a clinician I felt academics did not value my contribution to research and theory development - even though everyday I was engaging people in occupation! The Scholarship of Practice approach, on which MOHO is built, actively sought out my clinical experience. It was seen as pivotal to how theory and application developed. At last - an academic unit that was prepared to hear clinical voices - an academic unit that was focused on developing practice.

In addition to being a clinician, I am now an educator and researcher. The Model of Human Occupation provides a mechanism for translating “artful” practice from expert clinicians to OT students. Students need to be able to understand the clinical reasoning and decision making of expert clinicians so that they themselves can develop these skills. It provides a language for experienced OTs and OT students to discuss complex cases and have a mechanism to illuminate the multifaceted complex issues of people occupational lives.

As a researcher, MOHO provides a framework for rigorous scientific inquiry. Theoretical constructs can be examined, assessments can be validated, intervention structures identified and understood, client experiences can be explored, and the efficacy of OT can be investigated. A framework like MOHO can be used to research cultural differences around engagement in occupation and provides a language for OTs around the world to discuss their clients in detail.

Everyday I am reminded of the privilege of being an occupational therapist - supporting people to choose to engage in meaningful, valued occupations, develop a sense of their own abilities and limitations, have satisfaction and enjoyment from occupations, develop habitual routines around these occupations, and take on responsibilities which provided a sense of personal significance - it is truly joyful work.