Jones, Janice (2014) A qualitative study exploring how occupational therapists address spirituality in their practice. In: 16th International Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists., 18th - 21st June 2014, Yokohama, Japan. (Unpublished)

Spirituality is an important issue for service users and health care professionals including
occupational therapists. Occupational therapists are increasingly recognising that spiritual values and
skills are necessary aspects of their interventions. In particular the values that the constructs of spiritualty
namely, hope meaning and purpose play in the healing process (Culliford 2002). Spirituality has often
been operationalized into the assessment of religious needs. However the concept of spirituality is much
wider and is applicable to those with or without religious faith. Research has aided understanding of
how spirituality relates to Occupational Therapy practice (Belcham 2004, Hoyland and Mayer 2005,
Udell and Chandler 2000). However further research to explore what spirituality looks like in practice
was needed. Aim: This study explored the experiences of four occupational therapists addressing
spirituality in their practice. Method: An ethnographic design was used to observe how occupational
therapists behaved in the practice.
This inductive qualitative method enabled the researcher to become
immersed in the practice context, observing and noting the language, behaviours and values exhibited
by the occupational therapists (Creswell, 2007). A sample of four qualified practicing occupational
therapists was recruited. They were invited to conclude the period of observation by taking part in a
semi structured conversational interview, to reflect on their experiences and discuss themes that emerged
from the practice settings. Findings : The findings will be presented as case studies from each service
area and the themes that emerged from the analysis of field notes and interview transcription.
The data
analysis will explore the unique experiences of the four occupational therapists; drawing on
opportunities and barriers to address spirituality within occupational therapy practice. Conclusions: The
presentation of this research will highlight the opportunities and barriers within occupational therapy
practice where spirituality is integral to the day to day work of the occupational therapist.

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