The Politics of Practice: Strategies to Secure Our Occupational Claim and to Address Occupational Injustice

By Gruhl, Karen L. Rebeiro | New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2009 | Go to article overview

The Politics of Practice: Strategies to Secure Our Occupational Claim and to Address Occupational Injustice


Gruhl, Karen L. Rebeiro, New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy


Hello, Bonjour, Kia Ora! Te-na- koutou katoa! Miigwetch. Like so much of what I write about, this talk, metamorphosed and evolved into something different over the months preceding this conference. When I was asked to do today's talk, I really didn't have an appreciation of what I would speak about, but I knew that if I was patient, what I needed to talk about would eventually come. It actually came in bits and pieces. Part of my motivation for speaking to this issue of the politics of practice came from a call for papers from the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy while I was in the midst of writing comprehensive exams. This call for papers initially caught my interest by stating, strategies for changing policies to enable occupation and promote occupational justice. Part of my motivation and interest in politics came from a policy practicum I did last autumn/winter with our regional health authority. Also, my interest has evolved from my ongoing hunch that politics in Northeastern Ontario (NEO) has something to do with limited access to competitive employment for persons with serious mental illness (SMI). Serendipity, being what it is, it just so happened that the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists was stepping across the political threshold regarding two-tiered health benefits based upon origin of disability. I thought politics would be a timely topic. In the end, my examination of politics required me to reflect about the political nature of my own practice, much of which I had long forgotten and which I hadn't necessarily thought of as being political, although it was.

With those thoughts in mind my goals for this keynote address are:

1. To suggest that occupational therapy is more political than we might think;

2. To suggest that part of our occupational culture must include the politics of practice and so we must become proficient in politics to successfully do our work;

3. To suggest that how we define ourselves and our role in the health care arena is political and directly relevant to our occupational claim;

4. To suggest that securing our jurisdiction in the arena of occupation will depend upon us becoming more political; and,

5. To share collaborative strategies for becoming politically energized!

Dispelling the myth that being political is not professional or therapeutic

Let us begin by understanding what politics is and what it is not. To do that we need to dispel the myth that being political is not therapy, or therapeutic or even very professional at all. Politics are important to occupational therapy for two reasons: First, politics are pervasive throughout health care practice (Hofrichter, 2003) and being a health care profession occupational therapy needs to know about politics. Second, occupational therapy practice is replete with ideas, ideologies and interests that are important to society and healthcare policy and practices are significantly influenced by ideas, ideologies and interests. Therefore, I suggest that we need to get our ideas about occupation out into the political arena so that our ideas can and do influence policy. The challenge will be to clearly express and articulate our ideas and political interests so that others understand them. We also need to establish an organized platform for both promoting occupational therapy ideas, and for defending them in hotly contested arenas, such as healthcare. To meet these challenges, we will need to abandon old notions that being political is not therapy or therapeutic or indeed very professional and acknowledge the undeniable reality of politics to our practice.

Second, it is important for us to dispel the myth that politics only occur at government levels. I found a variety of definitions for politics, including this one which states, "politics is the process by which groups make decisions" (Wikipedia.org, 2008). Although the term is generally applied to behaviour within governments, politics is observed in all human group interactions, for example, in corporate, academic, religious institutions, and professional associations such as the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Politics of Practice: Strategies to Secure Our Occupational Claim and to Address Occupational Injustice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.