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Scand J Occup Ther. 2015 Jul;22(4):244-51. doi: 10.3109/11038128.2015.1020866. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

The illusion of client-centred practice.

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DPT & Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, St Catherine University , Minneapolis, MN , USA.



A critical analysis of occupational therapy practice in the corporate health care culture in a free market economy was undertaken to demonstrate incongruence with the profession's philosophical basis and espoused commitment to client-centred practice.


The current practice of occupational therapy in the reimbursement-driven practice arena in the United States is incongruent with the profession's espoused philosophy and values of client-centred practice. Occupational therapy differentiates itself from medicine's expert model aimed at curing disease and remediating impairment, by its claim to client-centred practice focused on restoring health through occupational enablement. Practice focused on impairment and function is at odds with the profession's core tenet, occupation, and minimizes the lasting impact of interventions on health and well-being. The profession cannot unleash the therapeutic power of human occupation in settings where body systems and body functions are not occupation-ready at the requisite levels for occupational participation.


Client-centred practice is best embodied by occupation-focused interventions in the natural environment of everyday living. Providing services that are impairment-focused in unfamiliar settings is not a good fit for client-centred practice, which is the unique, authentic, and sustainable orientation for the profession.


Client-centred practice; authenticity; context; impairment; occupation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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