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Meeting spiritual needs within occupational therapy practice


Title: My keynote! Stockholm Author: Chris Mayers Last modified by: user1 Created Date: 8/21/2010 6:43:19 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Meeting spiritual needs within occupational therapy practice

Meeting spiritual needs within occupational
therapy practice
  • Professor Chris Mayers
  • Research Fellow (Occupational Therapy)
  • York St John University

Definition Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational therapists acknowledge the link
    between what people do and their health and
  • To the profession, occupation means all the
    activities that a person finds meaningful, enjoys
    and values. These occupations fall within the
    areas of work/productivity, play/leisure, rest,
    and personal and domestic self-care

  • We work alongside people with many sorts of
    problems, including mental health issues, to
    enable each person to participate in a
    self-determined balance of meaningful occupations
    in order to maximise his/her abilities and
    enhance quality of life.

  • As occupational therapists, with
    person-centred practice central to the philosophy
    underlying our practice, we value and respect the
    priorities, choices, needs, occupations and
    feelings of the people with whom we work and
    this also includes the area of spirituality.

This presentation will include..
  • a brief exploration of the term spirituality
  • consideration of the relationship between
    spirituality, motivation and meaningful
  • how spiritual needs can be assessed and met by
    occupational therapists

Defining spirituality
  • Stoll (1989) identified
  • vertical and horizontal
  • components of spirituality

Stoll, 1989
  • The vertical component involves a persons
  • relationship with a higher power
  • (experiencing God as a transcendent and/or
  • personal being)
  • and/or
  • the horizontal component is ones relationship
  • with self, others and environment, often
  • referred to as humanistic values and beliefs.


An individuals definition of spirituality
includes some, or all, of the following aspects
  • a search for meaning purpose to life
  • a search for activities that give meaning and
    value to an individuals life
  • a quest for wholeness, integration of mind,
    body and spirit
  • a belief in God or some form of higher power
  • a sense of connectedness to God, self, others,
  • and that these personal beliefs or faith shape
  • a persons perspective of the world how she/he
    lives life
  • (Johnson Mayers, 2005 Cornah, 2006)

  • The spiritual aspect of your meaningful
    occupations may be totally different to mine the
    spiritual meaning of any occupation that we
    choose to undertake will be very personal, as it
    is for all the users of our services.

The relationship between our spirituality,
motivation and occupation
  • Underlying the motivation and reasons for
    undertaking any task / occupation are a set of
    conscious / unconscious beliefs and values, the
    reasons why we do what we do these could be
    said to be the spiritual aspect of us as
  • This spiritual aspect has a wide spectrum and
    gives us an inner energy to participate in
    chosen occupations (Mayers, 2004).

  • Our spirituality enhances the
  • occupations that we chose to
  • undertake and that are meaningful
  • to us

  • and also our spirituality is the motivating
    force that encourages us to take part in these

  • As occupational therapists, with
  • meaningful occupation central to
  • our philosophy, we have every
  • opportunity to help meet the
  • spiritual needs of our clients as we
  • enable them to do the occupations
  • that they enjoy.

The Mental Health Foundation (2006)
  • one of the key contributions of spirituality
    in the lives of these individuals (people with
    depression) may be the power it offers to
    restore meaning, purpose and hope to their
  • and surely this is so for people with any
    sort of disability / social deprivation.

Assessing and meeting spiritual need
  • Spiritual need I would think of as the same as
    any other sort of need.
  • if someone has something that is important to
    themwe should do the best we can to help them
    fulfil that need.

Collins et al. (2001) n 112
  • 107 (95.6) of their participants believed
    spiritual well-being was an important component
    of good health and
  • 51 (45.5) agreed or strongly agreed that
    therapists should address spiritual concerns with
  • However, the appropriateness of addressing
    spiritual issues was concluded to be situational
    based, e.g. only if the client brings it up.

  • So how can occupational therapists
  • discover if this is an important
  • area for our service users?

The Mayers Lifestyle Questionnaires (1), (2)
  • Developed to enable service users to
  • indicate their priority quality of life needs
  • right at the beginning of intervention.
  • (1) for people with problems related to physical
  • (2) for people with enduring MH problems
  • (3) recently developed, specifically for older

Sections within the Mayers LSQ (2)
  1. Looking after yourself
  2. Living situation
  3. Looking after others
  4. Being with others
  5. Being in and out of work/attending college
  6. Your beliefs and values
  7. Finances
  8. Choices
  9. Activities you enjoy doing / want to do

  • Unless we discuss an individuals quality of
    life with them, we cannot initiate a
    person-centred approach which means we cannot
    discover their level of motivation, interests
    (meaningful occupation) and values (spirituality)

Section 6. Your Beliefs and Values
  • Do you have-
  • religious / spiritual beliefs that are important
    to you?
  • do you like to be with others who have similar
    beliefs / values?
  • are you able to join others with similar beliefs?

Older people with dementia examples of
people/occupations enhancing their spirituality
  • Friends, family
  • A sense of belonging, being with others
  • Having a clear role being a grandparent
  • Undertaking outdoor pursuits gardening,
    walking, listening to/watching birds, enjoying
    change of seasons
  • Attending church and being part of that community

  • Ive got a rose in front of my window. Its
    only one little rose on its own and I just feel
    as if its been put there for me

  • Collins JS, Paul S and West-Frasier J (2001) The
    utilization of spirituality in occupational
  • beliefs, practices and perceived barriers.
    Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 14(3/4),
  • Cornah D (2006) The impact of spirituality on
    mental health a review of the literature.
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Hoyland M and Mayers CA (2005) Is meeting
    spiritual need within the occupational therapy
  • domain? British Journal of Occupational Therapy,
    68 (4), 177-180
  • Johnston D and Mayers CA (2005) Spirituality a
    review of how occupational therapists
  • assess and meet spiritual needs. British Journal
    of Occupational Therapy, 68 (9), 386-392
  • Mayers CA (2004) Editorial Towards
    understanding spirituality. British Journal of
  • Therapy, 67 (5), 191
  • Mueller PS, Plevak DJ and Rummans TA (2001)
    Religious involvement, spirituality and medicine
  • implications for clinical practice. Mayo Clinic
    Proceedings, 76(12), 1225-1235.