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Tristam H. Engelhardt’s Article, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 662

Essay

The main point of Tristam H. Engelhardt’s article “Occupational Therapists as Technologists and Custodians of Meaning” is that the development of the profession requires occupational therapists to develop a complementary relationship between scientific approaches and those that emphasize the importance of the human spirit.  As with many professionals in the health care field, occupational therapists must play multiple roles when providing care to patients.  This requires them to take an active role in “explaining reality as scientists [and convey] complex services of care and guidance” (Engelhardt 141).  These roles need not be mutually exclusive, and instead provide an opportunity for occupational therapists to use their understanding of the human body to improve their patient’s physical and emotional state of well-being.  Following in the steps of Adolph Meyer, occupational therapy is a field which can both promote physical wellness and an understanding of the societal role played by physical and mental activities to develop both the individual’s capabilities and that of the overall culture.

The main point of James W. Garrison’s article “Habits as Social Tools in Context” is that an individual’s sense of self can be extremely compromised by physical disability and the loss of the basic living functions which allow an individual to express themselves fully.  Occupational therapists play a crucial educational and rehabilitative role by assisting their clients in returning to former habits and developing new ones.  Habits are acquired functions which depend on the “cooperation of the environment” (Garrison 12) and can only be fully understood in context with the larger social and cultural environment.  An individual’s habits have both a neurophysical and a social component; by helping the client become aware of this connection, the occupational therapist can assist their client in developing a positive relationship with both their physical and emotional selves.  Using John Dewey’s theories on emotion and occupation, Garrison stresses that an individual without an occupation or a vocation is purposeless and devoid of spiritual strength.  Thus, the occupational therapist has the opportunity to provide not only physical assistance, but also to assist clients in recognizing that their creative and spiritual endeavors are innately tied to their individuality, self concept, and development as a thinking and feeling human being.

The main point of Todd B. Kashdan and Michael F. Steger’s article “Curiosity and Pathways to Well-Being and Meaning in Life: Traits, States, and Everyday Behaviors” is that an individual’s overall well-being is linked to their level of curiosity in their daily life.  Kashdan and Steger conducted a research study which used daily diaries to chart incidents of positive and negative affect, overall life satisfaction, and events which corresponded with hedonism and pleasure.  Their results suggest that curiosity functions as a self-perpetuating mechanism in that the experience of achieving life satisfaction from a single experience of curiosity tended to lead individuals to continue to search for meaning on subsequent days.  Unlike curiosity, daily pleasure, especially of the more hedonistic variety, tended to limit an individual’s search for greater meaning in the long term.  The experience of curiosity is distinct from emotions such as pleasure and joy because it functions “to motivate exploration of the self and world, and expand knowledge and skills” (Kashdan & Steger 169).  This has implications for the field of occupational therapy because Kashdan and Steger’s research illustrates the manner in which an interest in one’s surroundings and the larger world can inspire an individual to seek out further physical and intellectual stimulation, thus offering a psychological approach that may be useful when working with individuals who have compromised physical mobility.

Works Cited

Engelhardt, H. Tristam Jr. “Occupational Therapists as Technologists and Custodians of Meaning.” In Health Through Occupation: Theory and Practice in Occupational Therapy. Ed. Gary Kielhofner. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis, 1983. 139-144.

Garrison, James W. “Habits as Social Tools in Context.” The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research 22 (Winter 2002): 11-16.

Kashdan, Todd B. & Steger, Michael F. “Curiosity and Pathways to Well-Being and Meaning in Life: Traits, States, and Everyday Behaviors.” Motiv Emot 31 (2007): 159-173.

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