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Therapeutic Agent – Have You Got It ?. By Anna Nicholls Occupational Therapist / Ergonomist. Introduction. Practice Scholars Network. By Dunton 1919. Occupation is as necessary to life as food and drink. Every human being should have both physical and mental occupation

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Therapeutic Agent – Have You Got It ?

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Therapeutic Agent – Have You Got It ?


Anna Nicholls

Occupational Therapist / Ergonomist


Practice Scholars Network

By Dunton 1919

  • Occupation is as necessary to life as food and drink.

  • Every human being should have both physical and mental occupation

  • All should have occupations which they enjoy, or hobbies

  • Sick minds, sick bodies and sick souls may be healed through occupation

Foundation of Occupational Therapy

  • Foundations of Occupational Therapy – “Human is an occupational being for whom occupation is a basic need”

  • Extending this, anything reducing a humans ability to engage in occupation has the potential to negatively affect the health and well being of the individual even to generate pathology

Core of the Model

  • Knowing What

  • Knowing How

  • Therapeutic Agent

Knowing What ?

Foundation Sciences

  • Anatomy

  • Physiology

  • Social Theories

  • Occupational therapy theories

  • Systems

  • Legal requirements

  • Research

Knowing How ?

  • How to do a shower assessment

  • How to do a home visit

  • How to do a FCA

  • How do you measure a patient for a wheelchair

  • How to teach manual handling skills

  • How to do a worksite assessment

Therapeutic Agent

  • Clinical and professional reasoning for each situation

  • Targeted and individual problem solving

  • More effective personal skills and competencies

  • Useful professional power for individuals advocate for people, for systems to change

Therapeutic Use of Self

  • The term “Therapeutic use of self” – it is defined as:

  • “The therapists conscious efforts to optimize their interaction with clients. It is the planned use of his or her personality, insights, perceptions and judgements as part of the therapeutic process. “

  • (Taylor, Lee, Kielhofner, Kelkar (2009) Therapeutic use of self: A nationwide survey of practitioners’ attitudes and experiences. AMOT 63: 198-207.


Injury Management

Adjusting the JCU Model to Injury Management Model

Knowing What

  • Health professionals

  • Legal professionals

  • Discrimination law

  • Legislation

Knowing How

  • How to write suitable duties programs

  • How to communicate with doctors

  • How to monitor an injured worker

  • How to complete the claim application

  • How to manage the cost of claims for a company

  • How to manage claims

Therapeutic Agents

  • Therapeutic Use of Self

  • Good communicator

  • Very patient

  • Empathetic

  • But still goal and outcome focused

  • Persistent

Non – Therapeutic Agents

  • Burn out is common

  • Time limited

  • The wrong people doing the job

  • Qualified professionals are not immune to this

  • Collect data

  • Measure outcomes

  • Could a better outcome have been achieved with a different person involved in the case

Are you a Therapeutic Agent

So Back to our model

  • Knowing what

  • Knowing how

  • Therapeutic agents

  • Do you have all of these in place – are they the best for the job and giving you a holistic view to best support the person



  • Yvonne Thomas at the OT Department, James Cook University

  • Practice Scholars Network – all the therapists and academics involved

  • Staff at NQTS

  • My patients and customers over many years who have facilitated my learning

  • And Bill Neven

The End

Thank You……..

…………………any questions?

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