Thinking critically about client-centred practice and occupational possibilities across the life-span

Janet Njelesani, Gail Teachman, Evelyne Durocher, Yani Hamdani, Shanon K. Phelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Client-centred occupational therapy practice is tacitly guided by prevailing social values and beliefs about what are "normal" occupational possibilities. These values and beliefs privilege some occupations and negate others. Aim: This study aims to identify and problematize assumptions regarding the value of approximating normal occupational possibilities, showing how these assumptions influence and may diminish client-centred practice. Methods: Using empirical research examples it demonstrates how occupational therapists and clients are immersed in contexts that shape values and beliefs about what are considered "normal" occupations and how these taken-for-granted values structure occupational therapy practice. Conclusion: Critique of client-centred practice requires conscious reflexivity, interrogating our own and our clients' predispositions to value some occupations over others. Engaging in critical reflexivity can help therapists develop new perspectives of how client-centred practice can be applied that includes enabling possibilities for occupations that would be missed altogether in the pursuit of "normal'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Occupational therapy
  • Qualitative research
  • Reflexivity
  • occupational therapy intervention
  • client-centred practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Thinking critically about client-centred practice and occupational possibilities across the life-span'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this