Reflection in OT & Client Centred Practice - The Core Values of OT

This will be a series of five blogs which uses the OT process as its guide to examine the core aspects of occupational therapy. Whether you are just starting out in the profession or you are like me, a veteran OT, you could use this blog as part of your monthly reflections to evidence HCPC standards.

The first aspect it would be useful for us to look at revolves around the issue of client centred practice. Being client centred in terms of professional practice has always been at the centre of our role as occupational therapists, it was almost our unique selling point. Nowadays almost every AHP claims this to be part of their role. I feel that we should embrace this as a goal for all AHPs , but I don't feel that this is always achieved, even by some occupational therapists. This is an opportunity to not only clarify what we mean by client centred practice, but also to reflect on how close to this your own practice is able to be. I personally believe if you are not being truly client centred, you are not acting as an OT.

For me, being client centred is the ability to see the world through the eyes of client, which means suspending your culture, values and beliefs, hearing what the client says and how they say it, not only the words they use, but their body language such as facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice etc. It's then about using that information to develop a therapeutic relationship from which you can identify what motivates your client, their cultural values, norms and beliefs. You will then be able to work with your client to move forward to wherever they want to be.

If you, as an OT, agree with this, and I hope you do, what I would like you to do now is to take a few moments to reflect on your practice this week with your most challenging client and the client your had the best outcome with, which may even be the same person.  In relation to them, did you have the time and the opportunity to really listen to what they had to say or did time pressures impact on your ability to develop a therapeutic relationship? How much is being client centred  imbedded into your practice and service delivery? Rate this on a scale of one to ten, ten being outstanding, one being none existent. Think about how you could move this rating up the scale to the next level and how you will adjust your future practice.

Congratulations. You have managed to take this opportunity to review and reflect on your current practice. You have identified clear evidence of your practice and ways of improving that practice. This can be used to demonstrate  how you have met the HCPC standards this month.

In the next blog I will give you the opportunity to do the same again with your use of assessment. If you have any thoughts, questions or queries, I would love to hear from you.


Margaret Spencer


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