From practice to praxis: Reconnecting moral vision with philosophical underpinnings

Clare Wilding*, Gail Whiteford

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    In this article, it is argued that in order to meet the profession's ethical and moral obligations, occupational therapists need to ensure that they are connected to the philosophical foundations of occupational therapy. By making occupational therapy practice occupation-focused, therapists guarantee that they provide a unique and valuable contribution to multidisciplinary teams and that they help to meet all the needs of patients. The findings from an action research study of 15 occupational therapists' practice in an urban Australian acute hospital setting are used to illustrate that occupational therapy practice can and should be occupation-focused. Research data were gathered through audio-recording and transcribing individual interviews and research group meetings. The data were analysed qualitatively using non-linear formal and informal processes. The findings were as follows: having a clear professional vision increased the confidence of co-researchers; attending to patients' occupational needs increased the therapists' motivation to engage in more occupation-focused practice; and therapists felt increased satisfaction when their practice was occupation-focused. The article concludes by advocating that occupational therapists can be wiser and more ethical practitioners by engaging in praxis, a form of moral, reflective practice scholarship, particularly through participating in communities of practice that focus on understanding and developing ways of enabling occupation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)434-441
    Number of pages8
    JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


    • Action research
    • Occupation
    • Professional identity


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