The Development and Significance of Theories Underlying the Practice of Occupational Therapy in Today’s Sociopolitical Climate | Online Assignment Help
Module 3-Assignment: Applying the Kawa [River] Model
Related Student Learning Outcomes:
· Discuss the development and significance of theories underlying the practice of occupational therapy in today’s sociopolitical climate. (2)
· Correlate models of service delivery with influences on the practice of occupational therapy. (3)
· Differentiate the models of practice as they apply to the practice of occupational therapy. (4)
To differentiate the most common occupation-based models of practice as they apply to practice.
· Consider the idea that life is a river:
· If life is like a river, what is a drought in one’s life?
· If life is like a river, how can we think about the currents in the river of life?
· If life is like a river, what is a flood in someone’s life river?
· If your life is a river, would you rather be a meandering stream or a forceful rapid?
1. Now, using the Kawa Model (attached) template provided, create a drawing that depicts your current life situation as a river (This can be hand-drawn, computer generated, and/or multi-medium).
· Draw the floor and sidewalls of your life’s river. In the floor and sidewalls, embed the names of
· People who provide you with the most support, true friends (Steven husband) (Cecilia –Mother) (jessica – Cousin)
· People who provide you with material support and resources (Katie- friend) (Madlen-Aunt)
· Places you frequent that build you up, refresh or replenish you, inspire or direct you (Big Bear) (Disneyland) ( beach)
· Somewhere along the bottom or the sides draw the rocks. Label each rock as a problem or difficulty you are currently experiencing.
· Draw as many or as few rocks as you like
·Make the size of each rock relative to the degree of impediment these problems create in your life (family issues) (stress) (work) (college)
· Draw driftwood in your river to represent your assets.
· Label the driftwood with some of your best features or characteristics. (caring) (patient) (determined) (honest) (loyal)
· Label other driftwood as some of your most important skills/attributes.
· Now focus on the spaces between the floor, walls, rocks, and driftwood.
· Label these spaces with the occupations in your life that hold the most meaning for you. (wife) (student) (rest and sleep) (work) (leisure)
· Be judicious and include only those things that are important for you to carry on no matter what life throws at you; these are things that are the essence of you.
· Explain your illustration. Do you think you could use the metaphor of life as a river as a way to help you consider a person in a sociocultural context?
Foundations for Occupational Therapy
Models of Practice in OT – Kawa Model
(The illustration can be drawn by hand or computer technology)Create an illustration of the Kawa Model with regard to your personal circumstances:
|Do you think you could use the metaphor of life as a river as a way to help you consider a person in a sociocultural context?|
Explain the Kawa Model picture:
I, Antonette Owen declare that this dissertation is my own work. It is being submitted
for the degree of Master of Science in Occupational Therapy to the University of the
Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. It has not been submitted before for any degree or
examination at this or any other University.
_______ Day of ________________, 2014
To my parents who make me believe that all things are possible.
PRESENTATIONS ARISING FROM THE STUDY
Owen, A. (2012) Exploration of the Kawa Model within a South African Context,
COTEC Congress, Stockholm, Sweden.
Owen, A. (2012) Exploration of the Kawa Model within a South African Context,
OTASA Congress, Umhlanga, South Africa.
Owen, A. (2013) Factors influencing the use of models in occupational therapy, WITS
School research day, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of and the clinical
application of models by a specific group of occupational therapists with a particular
focus on the Kawa Model.
Method: A single descriptive case study design with embedded units, related to
model application by occupational therapists who attended a Kawa Model workshop,
was used. Quantitative data provided information about general model use within
occupational therapy and first impressions of the Kawa Model. Qualitative data were
obtained to explore the clinically application and suitability of the Kawa Model in the
South African context.
Main findings: Several factors were identified as having an influence on the use of
models by occupational therapists in general, with similar influencing factors related
to the application of the Kawa Model being identified. Factors include habituation
versus experience, experience and clinical reasoning, practice context and client
Edward Owen- Thank you for keeping me grounded and for supporting me in so
many ways. You inspire me.
Fasloen Adams- Thank you for being a committed, knowledgeable supervisor and for
providing reflection and inspiration when needed most.
Denise Franzsen- Thank you for being positive about my project and for seeing it
through with me to the end.
Professor Pat de Witt- Thank you for supporting me during my research by affording
me the opportunity to present my work internationally and allowing for writing time.
Research Participants -Thank you for your initial interest in my project and your
continued support over time.
Professor Rose Crouch- Thank you for supporting my project from the start by
bringing Dr Iwama to South Africa.
The University of the Witwatersrand- Thank you for financial support towards my
studies and conference attendance.
Alwyn Pelzer- Thank you for the technical support.
Jenny Acutt- Thank you for the final editing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DEDICATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… iii
PRESENTATIONS ARISING FROM THE STUDY ………………………………………………………. iv
ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. v
LIST OF TABLES ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. xii
LIST OF FIGURES ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. xiii
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS ……………………………………………………………….. xiv
ABBREVIATIONS ………………………………………………………………………………………………… xvi
CHAPTER 1: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
1.1 DEVELOPMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MODELS ………………………………….. 2
1.2 A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE OF OCCUPATION …………………………………………………. 3
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ……………………………………………………………………….. 5
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ………………………………………………………………………………… 5
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS …………………………………………………………………………………… 6
1.6 AIMS OF STUDY ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
1.6.1 Objectives of the Study ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6
1.7 TYPE OF STUDY AND METHOD ………………………………………………………………………… 7
1.8 JUSTIFICATION FOR RESEARCH/RATIONALE …………………………………………………… 7
1.9 OUTLINE OF THE STUDY ………………………………………………………………………………….. 8
CHAPTER 2: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.1 THE PHILOSOPHY OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY …………………………………………… 10
2.2 CULTURAL CONCEPTS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE ……………………. 11
2.3 DEVELOPMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MODELS ………………………………… 13
2.4 THE THEORY OF OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE ……………………………………………………. 13
2.5 MODELS OF HEALTH ……………………………………………………………………………………… 15
2.6 CURRENT MODELS USED IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY …………………………………. 17
2.6.1 The Kawa Model ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
2.7 APPLICATION OF MODELS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE …………………………………………. 23
2.8 CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE …………………………………… 26
2.8.1 Cultural Competence ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
2.9 CLIENT CENTRED PRACTICE AND CLINICAL REASONING ………………………………. 28
2.10 SUMMARY ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30
CHAPTER 3 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 31
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS …………………………………………………………………….. 31
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
3.1.1. Propositions for the study ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33
3.1.2 Outline of the study …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 34
220.127.116.11 Preliminary phase …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35
18.104.22.168 Quantitative Study: The use of models in occupational therapy ……………………………………………… 36
22.214.171.124 Qualitative Study: Perceptions of the Kawa Model after Clinical Application ……………………………. 36
3.2 SAMPLE SELECTION………………………………………………………………………………………. 37
3.2.1 Population ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 37
3.2.2 Sample selection ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 37
126.96.36.199: Phase 1: Quantitative study ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 37
188.8.131.52: Phase 2: Qualitative study ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 38
3.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS …………………………………………………………………………….. 39
3.3.1 Phase 1: Quantitative Survey Questionnaire (Appendix A) …………………………………………………………….. 39
3.3.2 Phase 2: Qualitative …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 40
184.108.40.206. Interview Guide – First Interview (Appendix C) ……………………………………………………………………. 40
3.3.3 Interview Guide – Second Interview (Appendix D) ………………………………………………………………………… 40
3.4 RESEARCH PROCEDURE ……………………………………………………………………………….. 41
3.4.1 Quantitative Data Collection …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 41
3.4.2 Qualitative Data Collection ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 41
3.5 DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS……………………………………………………………… 43
3.5.1 Data Management ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43
3.5.2 Data Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 43
220.127.116.11 Phase 1: Quantitative survey ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 43
18.104.22.168 Phase 2: Qualitative data …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 44
3.6 VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS ……………………………………………………………….. 45
3.6.1 Phase 1: Quantitative Survey Questionnaire ……………………………………………………………………………….. 45
22.214.171.124 Pilot Study for content validity …………………………………………………………………………………………… 45
3.6.2 Trustworthiness of Qualitative data …………………………………………………………………………………………… 45
126.96.36.199 Reflexivity ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 45
188.8.131.52 Credibility ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 47
184.108.40.206 Transferability ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 47
220.127.116.11 Consistency ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 48
18.104.22.168 Confirmability ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 48
22.214.171.124 Data Saturation ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 48
126.96.36.199 Member Checking …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 49
3.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS …………………………………………………………………………… 49
CHAPTER 4 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 51
RESULTS …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 51
4.1 INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 51
4.2 RESULTS FROM Phase 1: THE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE ……………………………….. 51
4.2.1 Demographics of the sample …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 52
4.2.2 Views on models and the reasons for application of models in clinical practice ……………………………….. 53
188.8.131.52 Application of occupational therapy models in clinical practice. …………………………………………….. 53
184.108.40.206 Model application related to employment sector, experience and type of qualification ……………. 57
4.2.3 Application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice ……………………………………………………………………….. 62
220.127.116.11 Current level of knowledge regarding the Kawa model …………………………………………………………. 62
4.2.4 Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 67
4.3 PHASE 2 RESULTS FOR QUALITATIVE DATA –PERCEPTIONS OF AND CLINICAL APPLICATION OF THE KAWA MODEL …………………………………………………………………… 68
4.3.1 Demographics of the sample …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 68
4.3.2 Application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice- First Interview after one month …………………………. 69
18.104.22.168 Theme 1: Clinical use of the Kawa Model is not simple ………………………………………………………….. 72
22.214.171.124 Theme 2: Perceived potential of the Kawa Model in clinical practice. ……………………………………… 79
4.3.2 Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 81
4.3.3 Continued application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice- qualitative data Second interview after
four months ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 82
126.96.36.199 Theme 1: It gets easier with time, but… ……………………………………………………………………………. 85
188.8.131.52 Theme 2: Context influence continued use ………………………………………………………………………….. 89
184.108.40.206 Theme 3: Education and Support ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 92
4.3.4 Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 94
CHAPTER 5: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 95
DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 95
5.1 INFLUENCES ON MODEL USE …………………………………………………………………………. 96
5.1.1 Habituation versus experience …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 97
5.1.2 Experience and clinical reasoning …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 101
5.1.3 Practice context …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 102
5.1.4 Client characteristics ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 104
5.2 INFLUENCE OF MODELS ON “DOING” …………………………………………………………… 105
5.2.1 Experience and clinical reasoning …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 106
5.3 INFLUENCES ON THE USE OF THE KAWA MODEL …………………………………………. 108
5.3.1 Habituation versus experience …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 109
5.3.2 Experience and clinical reasoning …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 111
5.3.3 Practice context …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 112
5.3.4 Client characteristics ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 112
5.3.5 Kawa Model characteristics …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 114
5.4 USE OF THE KAWA MODEL IN CLINICAL PRACTICE ………………………………………. 114
5.5 CONTINUED USE OF THE KAWA MODEL ……………………………………………………….. 119
CHAPTER 6 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 122
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 122
6.1 RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………. 125
6.2 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY ………………………………………………………………………… 125
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 127
APPENDIX A: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 135
APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW GUIDE- SECTION A ……………………………………………………………………………………… 139
APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW GUIDE – SECTION B ……………………………………………………………………………………. 140
APPENDIX E: SUPPORT OFFERED WHILE APPLYING KAWA MODEL IN CLINICAL PRACTICE ………………………. 141
APPENDIX G: ETHICAL CLEARANCE …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 146
APPENDIX H: SAMPLE OF A VERBATIM TRANSCRIBED INTERVIEW ……………………………………………………….. 147
APPENDIX I: SAMPLE OF A TRANSCRIPT SUMMARY ……………………………………………………………………………. 155
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1 Summary of the participants in the qualitative part of this
Table 4.2 Themes, Categories, Sub-Categories and Codes First Interview ………………-71-
Table 4.3 Themes, Categories, Sub-Categories and Codes Second Interview ……………..-84-
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 3.1 Outline of entire methodology………………………………………………………-34-
Figure 4.1 Population group, gender and area of practice of participants (n=12)…………..-52-
Figure 4.2 Institution of qualification and range of years qualified for participants (n=12)…-53-
Figure 4.3 Models currently applied in clinical practice (n=12)………………………………..-56-
Figure 4.4 Differences in the use of models in the private sector versus those in the public
Figure 4.5 The number of models used in clinical practice according to the number of years
Figure 4.6 Comparison between the application of models and the type of qualification
Figure 4.7 Participants’ perceived current level of knowledge regarding the Kawa Model
Figure 4.8 Possible application of the Kawa Model in relation to demographic information
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Conceptual Practice Models- Conceptual practice models can be described as
bodies of knowledge developed within the profession of occupational therapy to
inform practice. The aims for the development of such models are firstly to generate
and test theory on concepts of concern in the profession and secondly, to test
strategies and techniques used in therapy (1). For the purposes of this research
project, Kielhofner’s (2) classification of conceptual/practice models will be applied;
therefore all of the models/techniques mentioned will be referred to as models.
Occupation, Western perspective- A Western experience of occupation
demonstrates a tendency towards and an expectation of, individual autonomy,
allowing the individual to exert control over their surroundings and circumstances (3).
All humans are seen as occupational beings (4).
Occupation, Eastern perspective- An Eastern experience of occupation differs from
a Western one in that the individual is seen as an inextricable part of the environment,
with no particular need to occupy or control it. Instead of trying to exert control over
circumstances, there is the notion of adapting and adjusting the self and of acting
collectively in order to attain harmony (3).
Occupational Science- A basic science based on occupation developed in the
1980’s to support occupational therapy practice (4).
Cultural competency- Cultural competence is defined as an awareness of,
sensitivity to and knowledge of the actual meaning of culture (5). Culturally competent
people can be seen as those who have moved from a state of cultural unawareness,
to being culturally sensitive to their own cultural issues and how their values and
biases affect racially different clients (6).
Client centred practice- Client centred practice is based on the belief that given the
opportunity, the client best understands his own occupational performance needs and
its importance for maintaining the therapeutic relationship essential to therapy (7).
Clinical reasoning- Clinical reasoning is used to determine whether evidence “fits”
with each feature of a client’s specific context. Active involvement of the client, and
where possible, the family or carer, is important when decisions are made to
determine future plans (8).
Chronic condition- A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is
persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects and requires treatment over an
extensive period of time. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of the
disease lasts for more than three months (9).
Rehabilitation Phase- This is an evaluation phase during the recovery of a person
with impairments with the aim of intervention on participation (10).
Acute Phase- The objectives of acute-phase treatment are symptom remission and
restoration of function (11).
Models of health- The models of health developed in succession over time. They are
divided into the biomedical, bio-psychosocial and socio-ecological models (2).
AOTA- American Occupational Therapy Association
CAOT- Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy
COPM- Canadian Occupational Performance Model
COPM-E- Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement
COTA- Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
HPCSA- Health Professions Council of South Africa
MOHO- Model of Human Occupation
VdTMCA- Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability
OPMA- Occupational Performance Model Australia
OTPF II- Occupational Therapy Practice Framework II
UK- United Kingdom
USA- United States of America
WITS- University of the Witwatersrand
Occupational therapy is still a relatively young and developing profession. In 1917 the
American Society for the Promotion of occupational therapy stated that:
“The objective of the society shall be the advancement of occupation as a
therapeutic measure; the study of the effects of occupation upon the human
being; and the dissemination of scientific knowledge of this subject”(9).
This objective continues to be a major influence in the profession’s current
development. Occupational therapists deal with the complexities of understanding
occupation in different contexts in order to facilitate the development of the
occupational performance and reduce occupational dysfunction in their clients or
populations on a daily basis. These complexities relate to differences in their clients
with regard to their interests, the nature of their activities or occupations, their abilities
and the specific context in which they carry out these occupations. All of these factors
influence what clients do and impact on the occupational therapy outcomes.
The most complex of these is the individual’s specific environmental context, that
includes people, places, materials and equipment(10). In 2011 Turpin and Iwama
proposed that one of the central concerns of occupational therapy should be less
individual centred and rather be “context dependent participation through occupation”
To assist with understanding context and other factors, in relation to occupation as a
a basis for intervention, many practice models have been developed for use in
occupational therapy. These models provide the rationale for occupation based
assessment and intervention with emphasis on the clients’ context, and are the basis
for increasing the scientific relevance. These models, encourage evidence based
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
practice and maintaining the importance of occupation as a central concept in
1.1 DEVELOPMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MODELS
Previously the models which underpinned occupational therapy practice were
borrowed from other disciplines and emphasised a client’s dysfunction with little
concern for residual function or the environmental context they came from(10). In the
short history of the occupational therapy profession four distinct historical periods
have been identified by both Reed in 2005(12) and Kielhofner in 2009(2) as
influencing the models used as a basis for intervention. The Pre-formative period
(1800-1899) was influenced by the Moral treatment movement as well as the Arts and
Crafts movement. The Formative period (1900-1929) was influenced by the
philosophy of pragmatism which was characterized by the development of
foundational terms and concepts. The Mechanistic period (1930-1965) was influenced
by the philosophy of medicine and science using a quantitative approach. Models
were only introduced in occupational therapy in this last period and reflected both a
bio-psychosocial and biomechanical health focus.
During the Modern period (1966-current) there was a return to formative ideas and
the acceptance of qualitative methods. The development of models for occupational
therapy practice considered in this study, which reflect this deeper understanding of
occupation in daily life as the focal point(10), occurred with the advent of the theories
of occupational science first described in the 1980s(10). In 2000 Whiteford,
Townsend and Hocking emphasized the return to the focus on occupation within the
occupational therapy profession. This reaffirmation of focus is referred to as the
“renaissance of occupation” (p.61)(13).
This period was characterised by the development of occupation based models(10).
The model most frequently referred to from this period is the Model of Human
Occupation and Performance (MOHO) by Kielhofner which conceptualised humans
as consisting of layers of mutually influencing systems(14). Their occupational
performance was considered not only in relation to their impairments but also in
relation to their psychosocial system as well as their socio-cultural, external system or
the context in which they lived.
However, the theory influencing the concepts, models, technique and approaches
used in the advancement of occupational therapy as a profession at this time were
developed in the Western world. Thus the models developed during the 1980’s have
retained both a bio-psychosocial model of health as a basis of understanding
dysfunction in the individual and still place the focus on individual autonomy. These
occupational therapy models are thus based on a Westernised perspective of an
expectation of individual autonomy or independence which reflects the understanding
that individual exert control over their surroundings and circumstances. Although the
environment or context in which occupational performance occurs is clearly
acknowledged, it is conceptualized as a distinct entity that is seen as separate from
the individual. It is merely a stage on which human transformation occurs(9).
1.2 A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE OF OCCUPATION
The current western explanation of autonomy or independence related to occupation
has been strongly influenced by the social scientific views of the mid to late 20th
century (15)(16)(17). Individual autonomy in all spheres of life is celebrated as
individuals strive towards self-efficacy and competence in achieving control over their
circumstances(14) and all humans are seen as occupational beings(4). Occupation is
seen as a means to self-actualization, enabling a sense of “being and becoming what
I desire to be” (p. 584)(14).
When viewed from African or Eastern perspectives, however, “occupation” and its
context-enriched meanings differ and in comparison the Western based concept of
occupation appears to be limited and over simplistic(10). The concepts, inter-relations
and descriptions of meaning of human involvement are completely different from the
Western beliefs of mastery and control. A fundamental belief in African or Eastern
philosophies is that the individual is an inextricable part of the environment, with no
particular need to occupy or control it. Instead of trying to exert control over
circumstances, the notion of adapting and adjusting the self collectively with the
environment in order to attain harmony dominates(3). In Eastern cultures such as in
Japan for example, the meaning of “occupation” has not yet been identified and social
concepts like “occupation” do not transfer universally across cultural boundaries(18).
This view of the collective as understood by people in African and Eastern cultures is
becoming more evident and overtly acknowledged in Western concepts of health.
There is a growing view of health as a collective concern related to a population,
rather than just an individual concern, has resulted in the development of a socio-
ecological model of health care(10) which Turpin and Iwama in 2011 suggested
occupational therapists consider incorporating in their practice. It is important to
consider the influence of non-Western philosophies and other worldviews as these
also need to become more apparent in occupational therapy conceptual/practice
models if the models are to be applied appropriately to all cultures(10).
A relatively untested model developed by Iwama(19) in 2004 is based on collective-
oriented view of human occupation seen in Eastern cultures. This model assumes
that the environment is an integral part of the individual where occupations are
performed, as opposed to other occupational therapy models that assume the
environment is being acted upon and mastered. The individual is therefore
“embedded” in, and considered as part of the micro environment which is represented
by a riverbed. The model is thus called the Kawa (Japanese for river) Model and uses
this familiar metaphor of nature as an effective medium to translate subjective views
of self, life, well-being and the meanings of occupations(19).
The Kawa Model is based on the socio-ecological model of health, with the
understanding that an individual’s health is determined by the circumstances within
their environment, that are sometimes not within their direct control(10)(20). This new
conceptual/practice model, however, needs further exploration to determine how
occupation based on the collective experience can be applied in occupational therapy
practice, particularly in countries outside of the Western world(3). In order to justify
the use of models like the Kawa Model, research should be conducted in various
settings and different countries to establish the clinical relevance of the model in
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Occupational therapists are faced with a number of conceptual /practice models on
which to base their practice. Reed and Sanderson state that
“Keeping up with the changing models of practice is a major factor in
continuing education of most occupational therapists.”(p. 53)(11)
The level of knowledge regarding the models, as well as the ability of occupational
therapists’ to interpret and apply these models appropriately influences their clinical
practice. In addition occupational therapists are challenged when having to make the
decision about which model to base their practice on, so they can provide the most
culturally appropriate intervention for a specific client and the specific setting in which
Fawcett states that in order for a conceptual/practice model to be credible, it requires
evidence with regard to its “social utility, social congruence and social significance”
(p.229)(22). In South Africa, however, with a multicultural society, this evidence is not
available for the models applied with the many clients attending occupational therapy.
The occupational therapy models used in South Africa often do not align with the
underlying cultural beliefs of the clients. The models used most frequently in practice
have been constructed on the Western view of individual autonomy, and clients may
not necessarily hold the worldview of occupation represented in most occupational
therapy models. The exclusive use of these models may therefore result in ineffective
therapy for occupational dysfunction, preventing the occupational therapist from
providing equitable service to all clients.
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study was firstly to gain insight into how and why a sample of
occupational therapists applies occupational therapy models in their clinical practice.
The study then further explored the perceptions of these occupational therapists after
they had used the Kawa Model in their practice with clients from different South
African cultures presenting with chronic illness or disability.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What models do occupational therapists use of in their clinical practice and why?
What value do the therapists using the Kawa Model perceive that it adds to the
intervention with clients who have a disease or disability in the South Africa?
1.6 AIMS OF STUDY
The aim of the study was to determine the use of conceptual/practice models by a
group of occupational therapists practicing in Gauteng and the perceptions of some of
them regarding the experience of the use of the Kawa Model in their practice, after
they had had an opportunity to use the model in the intervention of clients with
chronic illness or disability.
To investigate this aim it was important to determine which models were being used
in clinical practice by the occupational therapists attending a workshop on the Kawa
1.6.1 Objectives of the Study
1. To determine which occupational therapy models occupational therapists
attending a workshop on the Kawa Model apply in their clinical practice and the
reasons the specific models.
2. To establish demographic factors related to model use in their clinical practice.
3. To establish the view of the occupational therapists on the Kawa Model after a
4. To explore the perceptions of the occupational therapy participants on the
application of the Kawa Model with clients in the field of chronic disability or
illness after they had had an opportunity to use it for approximately one month.
5. To explore the same occupational therapy participants’ perceptions about the
suitability and continued use of the Kawa Model for their practice context after
they had had an opportunity to use it for approximately four months.
1.7 TYPE OF STUDY AND METHOD
This study follows a descriptive case study design within a single case with
embedded units(23). A single case study design facilitates the exploration of a
phenomenon and in this study the application of models in general and more
specifically the Kawa Model by occupational therapy participants was considered.
The descriptive case study design offered an opportunity to explore model use by a
group of occupational therapists, practicing in Gauteng, who attended a workshop on
the Kawa Model, in the real life context with clients. Their perceptions about the
application of practice models, with particular emphasis on the Kawa Model in their
clinical practice context, were analysed using within and cross case qualitative data
which was integrated with the quantitative survey data to obtain a holistic
understanding of this phenomenon.
Data were therefore collected at three points in time in a sequential manner(24). The
initial data collection was done after the Kawa Model workshop using a quantitative
survey with closed ended and semi-structured questions to obtain data for the first
The data were collected at two different points in time after the participants had had
an opportunity to apply the Kawa Model in their practice after one month and then
after four months. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the perceptions of
the participants about the application of the model in clinical practice and the use of
the model in their practice context.
Embedded units in this single case study were determined by considering the
influence of different practice settings on model use and the use of the Kawa Model
with different patients, by occupational therapy participants(25).
1.8 JUSTIFICATION FOR RESEARCH/RATIONALE
Emphasis is placed on client centred therapy intervention by the Occupational
Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA) in their Code of Ethics and
Professional Conduct. Occupational therapy service may not allow any form of
prejudice or discrimination towards a client on the basis of race, gender, age, culture,
sexual orientation, language, disability or socio-economic status(26). Therefore
occupational therapists trained in South Africa must be cognisant of all the models of
occupational therapy and the world view they subscribe to(27).
For occupational therapy models to be effectively applied in clinical practice the
model needs to reflect the most current understanding of relevant structures and
interactions and capture the philosophy of the profession(27). Occupational therapists
need to constantly and critically appraise and test theories and models of practice,
which might become closed ideological systems if they are not researched, reviewed
and altered for appropriate use in the context in which the therapists practice(27).
Participants in this study will reflect on their use of models and the appropriateness of
the models they are using in relation to the client they treat.
“Our maturity as a profession and ability to affect people’s lives in powerfully
positive ways hinges on a greater inclusion of diverse spheres of experience
and meaning” (p.1)(28).
1.9 OUTLINE OF THE STUDY
Chapter Two presents the Literature Review, and addresses the issues of:
Philosophical and cultural concepts in occupational therapy; the development of
occupational therapy models; the development of occupational science; the influence
of the models of health on the development of occupational therapy models; clinical
use of models in occupational therapy with a specific focus on the Kawa Model;
application of models in clinical practice; cultural considerations in clinical practice;
client centred practice and clinical reasoning.
Chapter Three outlines the methodology that guides the study, and indicates the
study population; sample size; methods used to collect manage and analyse the
quantitative and qualitative data.
Chapter Four presents the results
Chapter Five presents the discussion including the integration of both quantitative and
qualitative results found in chapter four.
Chapter Six presents the conclusion; significance of the study; limitations and
This review of the literature will consider the philosophy of occupational therapy and
its imbedded cultural aspects. The development of occupational therapy models will
be explored alongside the factors influencing their development from the subjective
views and models of health. The current use of models in clinical practice will be
discussed with the factors to consider during the application of models. Databases
used to search for relevant journal articles and books related to these topics included
EBSCO Host, Science Direct, Sage online, SCOPUS, JSTOR and Pubmed. Some
seminal work was consulted in order to ensure a true reflection of historic
developments within the profession of occupational therapy.
2.1 THE PHILOSOPHY OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Craig in 1983 defined philosophy as:
“…the study which reveals to us the meaning of existence, the nature of reality
and our place in it. A philosophy is a creed, a set of beliefs to live by; it
provides a purpose encompassing and overriding the minor and trivial
concerns of the everyday or if not, and it communicates a state of mind from
within which the ultimate purposelessness of life becomes endurable.”(p 189-
Philosophy in a given profession refers to the basic beliefs that are shared by the
members of the specific profession. A professional philosophy is the system
underpinning a profession’s unique beliefs and values, providing its members with a
sense of identity and the ability to exert control over theory and practice(22). It further
assists in locating the domain of concern for that profession, irrespective of the
specific practice context. In occupational therapy, a major philosophical assumption
includes the belief that occupation is a central aspect of the human experience
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
regardless of the practice setting(22). The human being is viewed as an occupational
being and recovery of health is based on an individual’s ability to participate actively
in their valued areas of occupation.
However, in the late 1990’s, Wilcock(29) argued that the profession of occupational
therapy did not have a shared philosophy and explained that it was therefore not
possible to identify the core skills required to practice as occupational therapists. The
practice of occupational therapy tended to be concrete and focused at the impairment
level only which ultimately effected the future development of the profession and its
continued relevance. She suggested that the philosophy underpinning occupational
therapy should be reaffirmed as occupation for health(29). This would incorporate the
concepts with which the profession of occupational therapy concerns itself with,
particularly the facilitation of activities of daily living in culturally specific contexts
2.2 CULTURAL CONCEPTS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PRACTICE
Historically, however, occupational therapy theory and practice has evolved from
Western perspectives so occupation defined in the occupational therapy literature is
seen as a “vehicle” through which humans influence their environments, resulting in a
strong bias towards Western cultural identities(32). Therefore, shared spheres of
understanding and construction of meaning when interpreting human occupation
have been placed predominantly within Western experiences. This is not appropriate
for all cultural worldviews as it is congruent with the Western belief that obtaining
mastery over one’s environment is central to obtaining a state of good health and
It has been proposed by several occupational therapy scholars that this mastery over
the environment enhances survival(33)(34)(31), facilitates development, growth
(35)(36) and self-actualization(37) and ultimately contributes to an overall improved
quality of life(38). It is evident that initially the profession was shaped by the perceived
importance of obtaining mastery over the environment(10) and three core concepts of
related to occupation from a Western perspective have been identified as
underpinning the practice of occupational therapy. They are personal autonomy,
performance achievement and goal-directed intervention.
In the first two concepts emphasis is placed on client-centred practice, so that the
individual is empowered or enabled, ultimately leading to their personal autonomy
(32). Having an internal locus of control is viewed as important in order to exert one’s
power over the environment and in order to take personal responsibility in actively
pursuing wellness(6)(39)(40)(41). Productivity and mastery are viewed as end points
of therapy and individuals are frequently defined by their work roles and the degree of
success they have achieved in such roles(42)(43).
The last core concept of goal-directed intervention means that occupational therapy is
goal orientated and assumes that people know what they want to achieve(44).
Occupational therapists involve the individual in working toward achieving their
identified goals and future plans(40)(41)(43)(45). Therefore the main focus of
occupational therapy assessment and treatment is on occupational performance,
functional ability and involvement in meaningful or purposeful activity(40)(41). All
these concepts are highly sensitive to cultural interpretations, yet little is known about
their application within a non-Western context(32). The application of these three
concepts might create barriers or pose problems for the occupational therapy
practitioner who was raised within a non-Western society as well as all those
practicing in such contexts(40)(46).
The welfare of a society or family within a non-Western context is often viewed as
more important than the needs of the individual, and roles are bound by hierarchies
and often strict guidelines for behaviour, for example within gender roles. Within some
cultural contexts the divide between body and mind and work and leisure does not
exist and the concept of a balanced lifestyle may be related more to an inner
harmony, rather than to the scheduling of activities of daily living. Societal beliefs
around concepts like illness and recovery, efficacy of treatment and acceptability, that
influence health-seeking behaviours may also vary greatly
The factors that influenced the development of the understanding of occupation and
the models used in occupational therapy practice therefore need to be evaluated to
determine the assumptions that underpin them and how they accommodate different
2.3 DEVELOPMENT OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MODELS
The focus of occupational therapy on occupation as a therapeutic modality makes it
unique and this has led to the recent development of the discipline of occupational
science. This discipline now informs the profession and the practice models
developed to guide the practice of the profession.
2.4 THE THEORY OF OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE
Kielhofner argued that occupational therapy had been deficient in the application of
the central construct of occupation through the development of the profession in the
Pre-formative, the Formative and the Mechanistic periods(1). This was addressed by
the development of occupational science in the 1980s which grew from the need to
develop a basic science based on occupation, to support occupational therapy
practice(4). Its emergence resulted from the theoretical crisis in the profession which
during the previous developmental periods was fragmented due to models and
practice being based on theory that originated from other professions(51).
Since the introduction of occupational science an array of theoretical material,
including occupation-centred conceptual models and assessments, has been
developed by occupational therapy scholars. There is now a commitment towards
valuing, and placing occupation at the centre of our professional concern.
Occupational therapists are striving to take their practice beyond the traditional
medical institutions to the community, the main social context where everyday
occupations of daily living unfold(3).
Models based on occupational science have allowed the profession of occupational
therapy to place a reliance on a body of knowledge for the first time that was not
merely generated from within the profession but reflected their holistic view of human
beings as occupational beings.
However, doubts expressed by amongst others Fortune(51)(52) who questioned
whether the occupational vision held by occupational science scholars like Yerxa
really managed to filter successfully into occupational therapy practice. The queried
whether occupational science models presented a philosophy of lifestyle that was
compatible with actual occupational therapy practice worldwide(51). These doubts
were countered by Yerxa’s belief that the profession should focus on occupation and
respect the client’s choice in engagement in self-initiated, purposeful activity. She
emphasised the need to base therapy on occupation viewed from the clients’
perspective(53) which must also reflect the context in which this takes place. These
fundamental beliefs were made explicit in conceptual systems which integrated the
idea that intervention in occupational therapy, appropriate to particular individuals and
populations(10), should take all cultural perspectives into account. The term “models”
was not in use at this time, but emerged later in the 1980’s, when focus was placed
on the explicit organization of information into schemes.
The first occupational therapy models were influenced mainly by the biomedical
understanding of health and were published by the American and Canadian
Occupational Therapy Associations. Models developed in the 1980 have shifted the
focus to occupation as seen in the Model of Human Occupation and Performance
(MOHO)(14), and the Person-Environment-Performance Model (PEPM)(54). In these
models for the first time individuals were considered to be occupational beings and
the contexts in which these occupations occurred were described as multi-faceted
and complex, giving rise to many components that need to be considered to
understand what led the individual to engage in specific occupations(1).
In 1997, however, rather than looking at the interaction between a person and their
environment to understand their occupations, the authors of the Canadian Model of
Occupation Performance and Engagement (COPM-E), described a mutually
influenced interaction between the person, their environment and their occupations
(10). In most occupational therapy practice this concept is now almost an unspoken
assumption but it still requires some clarification and discussion(10). Turpin and
Iwama supported this assumption and suggested that occupation should not be
presented as a discrete entity within a model, but as an integral part of self through
which the person and the environment are viewed together. They felt the focus
should be on what is observed through involvement in occupation, rather than on how
the occupation itself influences the way in which the person and their environments
It would appear that co-existing concepts or models prevailing in the practice of health
care have, however, influenced the development of all occupational therapy models
throughout both the 20th and 21st centuries.
2.5 MODELS OF HEALTH
The concepts in the biomedical model which emphasise a decline in performance as
a result of impairment in body structures and functions in(55) include mechanistic
ideas from Western health care. These concepts are included in occupational therapy
models as performance components. In occupational therapy, however, the primary
focus has become a humanistic concern for the individual, where an open systems
understanding often associated with the bio-psychosocial model of health(10), rather
than the “body-as–machine” metaphor from a biomedical understanding, takes
Both the physical signs of health and illness and the individual’s subjective
experience of dysfunction are emphasised in the bio-psychosocial model, therefore
providing a more holistic understanding of health, which aligns closely to the
philosophy of occupational therapy(10). Individuals are therefore conceptualised as
having layers of mutually influencing systems where psychological and social aspects
are considered along with the individual’s biomedical concerns(10).
The occupational therapy models developed in the 1990’s incorporated these
concepts from the bio-psychosocial and systems understandings of humans while still
making the performance components explicit. They paid attention to the individual’s
subjective experience and psychological concerns such as identity. Emphasis was
placed on goals derived from a set of beliefs or principles about the value of
independence, the right to be enabled to achieve such independence and the manner
in which this affected the individual’s ability to conduct occupations. This concept
provided subjective underpinnings that informed clinical practice and highlighted
aspects such as respect for human dignity, self-actualisation and autonomy, equality
of rights to care and the importance of client-centred practice(27). As a result of this
increased understanding about client empowerment and the role the client should
play in determining their independence, the Canadian Association of Occupational
Therapists developed the client-centred approach in 1997. This approach recognises
and respects the client as being in control and as being an active participant in the
However, these models like the bio-psychosocial model of health still focus on the
individual although the collective nature of people as viewed by indigenous and
Eastern cultures is becoming more evident and overtly acknowledged. The socio-
ecological model of health is thus beginning to influence health practices worldwide
(10). When describing the socio-ecological model of health in 2004, Reidpath
explained that it takes into account factors that result in poor health in some
individuals or more importantly in some populations when compared to others(20).
Health is conceptualized as being determined by social, environmental, biological and
genetic factors, including but not exclusively related to identified biological
abnormalities and individual issues. This model views health as being affected by
factors outside the direct control of the individual, which may include the quality of
water supply, exposure to the sun as well as general living and working conditions as
well as issues of health inequality(20).
The influence of the socio-ecological model of health is also seen in the latest
occupational therapy models which consider occupation in relation to a
population/group context as well as that of an autonomous individual(10). Both the
Canadian Model of Occupation Performance and Engagement (COPM-E)(56)
published in 1997 and the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework II (OTPF II)(57)
published in 2008 include aspects of the socio-ecological model of health. The issue
of occupational justice(52) or equality, in relation to health and participation is made
explicit with an expressed concern for a just society and advocacy as a key skill for
enablement of the individual or a group of people(10). Evidently, the focus is moving
away from the individual and more towards the socio-ecological model of health in
which occupational therapists is concerned for the broader societal or population
The concepts, expressed in these latest models, resulting from the coming together of
ideas, have led to the growth of occupational therapy academically as well in its
application in the clinical field, allowing the profession to be relevant in terms of
current global thinking and concerns.
2.6 CURRENT MODELS USED IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
The development of models for the practice of occupational therapy can be grouped
into three categories namely; generic or outcome models, programme models and
lastly, specific practice/conceptual models(11). These different types of models have
developed over time. Initially models aimed to simplify phenomena and provide
structure for the profession but currently practice/conceptual models aim to tie
together a multitude of phenomena to make sense of the whole(21).
The first generic/outcome models focused on individual adaptation and explained
why occupational therapy is valuable, but did not explain how this value could be
achieved from clinical practice. These models consist of a theoretical framework to
describe, explain, guide and predict therapy outcomes in practice, without which
occupational therapy would amount to little more than a disorganized, irrational
service lacking utility and relevance(11)(21). Generic/outcome models include the
occupational behaviour model described by Reilly(58) which is based on the
assumption that occupations are developmentally acquired, and the individual
adaptation model described by King(54) that focuses on the relationship between the
environmental demands and the individual’s ability to meet those demands(54).
The second type of models, programme models focus on how occupational therapy
concepts can be organized to address a set of problems in a particular diagnostic
group. Programme models highlight what is needed to make occupational therapy
effective, but do not consistently indicate how to apply these resources to a specific
clinical case(11). The programme models were identified by Weimer in 1972 as those
related to promotion, protection, correction, accommodation and identification(59).
A program model for promotion aims to provide the health care consumer with an
awareness of certain conditions affecting health, in order for them to change their
behaviours in the future, such as educating parents on the importance of stimulation
activities in order to promote normal development in their children(11)(59). Program
models for protection also focus on providing health care consumers with education,
but the focus would be on high risk factors that can cause a potential health risks, for
example warning of the risk of falling where there are loose rugs within the home
Program models for correction focus on providing treatment for identified problems in
order to improve an individual’s functional capacity such as training to enable the
performance of activities of daily living. Program models for accommodation focus on
dealing with problems relating to the environment, for example removing architectural
barriers to accommodate disability. The final program model is for identification of
possible problems that may cause disability, for example early developmental
screening of children in preschool(11)(59).
The third type of model is the specific conceptual models for practice that offer an
explanation on how to apply occupational therapy in the clinical context. Conceptual
practice models can be described as bodies of knowledge developed within the
profession of occupational therapy to inform practice and exist as evidence that our
knowledge base is not just common sense, as it may appear, seeing that
occupational therapy is practiced within the context of ordinary life(10). The aims for
the development of such models are firstly to generate and test theory about
concepts of concern in the profession and secondly, to test strategies and techniques
used in clinical practice(1).
Kielhofner stated that the term, model in occupational therapy, can be associated with
a variety of frameworks or perspectives. He provided criteria for defining the
characteristics of a conceptual/practice model in 1985. Firstly the model must have a
solid grounding in practice and secondly it must provide theory that addresses unique
practice circumstances and supports the development of practice resources. He
identified several previously known frames of reference such as sensory integration,
motor control as being conceptual/practice models in 2009(2).
Kielhofner also stressed the importance of viewing these models as evolving bodies
of knowledge that must be changed and improved over time based on evidence and
research(1). He further emphasised the fact that each model has a specific focus and
that therapists need to apply a combination of models in order to address the complex
problems of their client(1) and identified three aspects that all conceptual/practice
models in occupational therapy address. These include firstly the organization and
function of the areas of occupation, explaining why people are motivated to engage in
certain behaviours. Secondly they address what happens when a person becomes
dysfunctional in terms of their motivation, performance patterns and the context in
which they carry out their occupations and thirdly how enablement of engagement in
occupation in therapy is explained by theory(1).
These models therefore organize occupational dysfunction and addressed
performance dysfunction. According to Davis a conceptual/practice model in
“…identifies what is believed about the nature of people and participation, the
way in which elements enable function or lead to dysfunction and non-
participation, and how one moves from a situation of dysfunction to one of
fuller participation.” (27)(p.59)
Conceptual/practice models should guide and improve the development and
application of practice skills. More importantly, they hold the potential to clarify
professional roles and support the development of a professional identity. When
defining conceptual models, Creek(60) states that they are:
“A simplified representation of the structure and content of a phenomenon or
system that describes or explains certain data or relationships and integrates
elements of theory and practice.”(60)(p. 55).
Since the profession of occupational therapy is seen primarily as a practical discipline
with a client-centred, hands-on focus, there has been an increasing interest in the
development of conceptual models for practice rather than on the specific
development of theory. The development of such models, which aim to link theory to
practice, was supported by Turpin and Iwama, due to the fact that the concepts
underpinning practice in occupational therapy, need to be justified.
Conceptual/practice models allow the thinking central to occupational therapists’
clinical reasoning to be understood and turned into action quickly(10), Turpin and
Iwama in 2011 further proposed the idea of using the practice setting as the starting
point when developing models by asking how theory can serve practice(10), and
challenge the notion of theory being regarded as superior to practical wisdom.
Kielhofner on the other hand emphasised the importance of theory in
conceptual/practice models as also they also guide research in the field of
In 1999, Wilcock(29) however, criticized most occupational therapy conceptual
models for practice stating that they fall short in their explanation of the exact nature
of human occupational needs. She felt that there was no clear explanation of how
occupational needs arise and their purpose and that the philosophical orientation on
which these models are based was not apparent, leaving their guidelines open to
different interpretations when applying them in occupational based practice. Another
criticism of the models used in occupational therapy is that on the whole, they have
been developed by occupational therapists with a Western worldview and are
therefore not always applicable in the contexts of clients from Asian, African and
Eastern bloc countries(10).
The extensive research which has been carried out on these models has also been
restricted to the countries in which the models were developed. Hence, there is
limited literature available on their clinical and cultural applicability in developing
countries(3). Also from an Eastern or Asian viewpoint, the Western based conceptual
occupational therapy models of practice appears to be limited, unilateral and over
simplistic representations of phenomena related to occupation. Iwama reported in
2003 that the models can be compared to “how-to” recipes when imported for use in
Japan. The concepts, inter-relations and depictions of meaning of human agency are
completely out of touch with Japanese indigenous constructs(3).
According to Iwama occupational therapists in Japan find it difficult to relate
meaningfully to the existing conceptual/practice models and to effectively apply these
models in practice with Japanese clients, who hold very different, but no less valid
constructions of truth and reality(3). This might therefore affect the interpretation and
on-going application of these practice/conceptual models(19). The occupational
therapy profession needs to continue evolving and transforming in order to maintain
social relevance and it seems that the development of practice models are an
important aspect in this development(10)(61). Duncan describes this necessary
evolution as being is related to one’s ability to match society’s needs with an
Iwama(19) developed the Kawa Model in 2004 in response to these concerns outside
of the traditional centres of occupational science in the United States of America
(USA), Canada and Australia. The Kawa model can be classified as such a
conceptual/practice model according to Fawcett’s and Kielhofner(62) criteria for
models, in that it is made up of concepts that describe mental images and
propositions or the statements that explain the relationships between the concepts
(2)(62). The model also can be used in practice as it can explain occupational
therapy’s overall purpose, the strategies for interpreting a client’s circumstances and
the rational for intervention within the client’s social and cultural spheres(19).
2.6.1 The Kawa Model
The Kawa Model was presented as the first culturally relevant occupational therapy
conceptual/practice model. The philosophy underlying the Kawa Model was based on
the postmodern and post-structuralist scholars’ viewpoint that people socially
construct their own life views and their own interpretation of reality. This model assists
in promoting clients’ understanding of issues related to occupation and occupational
performance. It provides an alternative way of conceptualizing these phenomena that
are historically and culturally situated. The concept of occupation, as with many other
concepts, is accepted as having a different meaning to people situated within different
spheres of experiences and circumstances, reflecting the models’ cultural
component(21).The Kawa Model allows occupation to be viewed from sociocultural
as well as temporal dimensions(63), which has a direct bearing on the individual’s
interpretation of this construct in relation to their own lives.
In this model there is an absence of the central, physically bounded “self” and the
“self” consists of a combination of several elements. The “self” is therefore viewed
from the primitive cosmological worldview, in which it is just another element in
nature. Interestingly, the Japanese term for “self” literally means “self-part” or “one’s
share” (p.140)(19). The model assumes that all the elements of nature, which include
humans, are profoundly connected. Even a phenomenon like disability is treated as a
collective experience rather than a medical issue and a tragedy. This differs from the
traditional Western rationale in which these elements are viewed as distinctly
The Kawa Model uses the metaphor of a river, where the “self” is viewed as a river.
All the elements in the river that include the self, society and life circumstances are
viewed as elements of one inseparable whole. These elements are depicted in a
visual drawing presented as rocks (life’s circumstances), river banks and bed or
bottom (environment), driftwood (personal attributes, personality, assets, liabilities)
and water (life flow/energy). They are all connected and cannot be comprehended in
isolation. The occupational therapist therefore is challenged to appreciate the
experience of wellbeing in the broader context rather than something that is viewed in
isolation, within the person. The aim of intervention when using this model is therefore
not to increase the individual’s self-efficacy, but to examine all the relevant parts of
the river (context) to facilitate “life flow”(19).
There is limited research published on the use of the Kawa Model by occupational
therapists working with clients presenting with chronic conditions. One study by
Carmondy et al explored the use of the Kawa Model with clients presenting with
multiple sclerosis. They found that the Kawa Model presented some opportunities as
well as challenges. Opportunities related to the enablement of the occupational
therapy process and the facilitation of occupation-based intervention when applying
the Kawa Model clinically. Challenges created through the use of the Kawa Model
related to participant uncertainty and the influence of therapist preconceptions. They
recommended further research on the application of the Kawa Model with a larger
The development of the Kawa Model has responded a need for change and has
shown that although occupational therapy is embedded mainly within a Western
culture, it is moving towards more culturally sensitive practices. The other evidence of
a shift is that independence is less frequently listed as an aim of treatment within the
educational texts. The emphasis now seems to be more on a needs led programme
that is informed by a cultural sensitive assessment, which takes the wider social
environment into consideration(32).
Nelson and Jepson-Thomas encourage the development as well as the actual
application of models of practice through the process of research, as they believe this
is critical for the professions continuing development and survival(63). Hence, the
importance of conducting research the use of current occupational therapy models in
various settings and different countries cannot be emphasized enough. The clinical
relevance of the models in different cultures needs to be established in order to
ensure that the profession stays true to its philosophy by providing clients with a
unique and relevant service(3).
2.7 APPLICATION OF MODELS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
Models in occupational therapy can be seen to serve practice in the following ways:
Models makes explicit the professions assumptions about humans and occupation
and provide a “short-cut” for guiding professional and clinical reasoning. Models
further help to define the profession’s scope of practice, by providing a focus for
intervention and making explicit its domain of concern. Thirdly, models enhance
professionalism and accountability by proving a certain status to the profession and
assisting in ethical decision-making. Models further assist the therapist in collecting
information in a systematic and organized fashion. Finally, models guide intervention
and provide the profession with solutions(10).
When it comes to using the conceptual models available in the practice of
occupational therapy there are still some issues. It is clear from the 2003 writings of
Creek and Feaver that each model does not fully represent the diversity and unique
role of the occupational therapy profession(60). Kielhofner had already suggested
that the multiple factors involved in the occupational functioning of an individual
cannot actually be addressed by the application of a single model, due to specific
focus of each model. He concluded that therapist would normally apply two or more
models in combination in order to address their clients’ complex needs(1). In
conjunction with Forsyth in 2002, he indicated that the application of any of the
conceptual model in practice is neither simple nor based on a straightforward formula.
Each conceptual/practice model aims to understand the important multiple
dimensions that make up each client’s unique experience of their place in their
occupational world, and requires a sophisticated understanding on the life issues
each client faces(21). Their interpretation is reflective of a number of well-researched
complex models, defined by them as conceptual/practice models for use in
occupational therapy, which includes the Canadian Occupational Performance Model
(COPM) and the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO). A problem exists however in
that while the conceptual aspects of MOHO and a similar model developed in
Australia, the Occupational Performance Model (Australia) (OPMA) are clear, work on
the practice aspect of both models is ongoing. In a review of MOHO in 2006 Davis felt
the complexity in the model is often missed by therapists who take the simplistic
diagram as a one-dimensional presentation of the concepts, without comprehending
the extensive documentation detailing the full meaning behind these concepts(27).
Two of the conceptual/practice models taught at South African occupational training
centres are the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) and the Vona du Toit Model of
Creative Ability (VdTMCA) which has been successfully applied in many settings
across South Africa(65).
The Model of Human Occupation was developed in the USA by Kielhofner and first
published in 1985. Since then further editions of his book on this model has been
published(1). This model (MOHO) is concerned with an individual’s participation in
and ability to adapt in their daily occupations. Volition is the driving force that
motivates engagement in occupation and consists of thoughts and feelings. These
thoughts and feelings are further referred to as one’s personal causation, values and
interests. When developing the model Kielhofner argued that one’s volition has a
direct impact on one’s occupational life. Other factors considered in this dynamic
model are that of habits, and roles. The MOHO therefore states that occupation
results from a dynamic interaction of the individual’s characteristics, namely volition,
habituation and personal performance capacity, within their specific environment,
from which they receive feedback which affects their occupational performance(2).
The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability (VdTMCA) developed by du Toit(66) in
South Africa in 1972 is a conceptual/practice model that is effective in guiding
practice. This model defines motivation and indicates the interrelatedness between
motivation and subsequent action. Motivation as a driver for subsequent action to
meet internal needs and environmental challenges has been identified by many
scholars in occupational therapy including Kielhofner in 1997(67) and Schultz and
Schkade in 1992(68). It informs the therapist of the factors that drive motivation and
provides a measure for the strength of such motivation. The measurement of
motivation is evaluated through the elicited action. The Vona du Toit Model of
Creative Ability provides the therapists with treatment strategies to elicit such
motivation. It consists of nine different, consecutive levels of motivation and action
with detailed guidelines for intervention at each of these levels(69). The model has
had little recognition internationally until 2008(70) but is currently obtaining wider
recognition in Europe and even in Eastern countries like Japan (71) indicating that the
model can accommodate cultural differences.
2.8 CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
Since client views on disability and health may differ considerably among different
cultures(56) it is important that occupational therapists understand these cultural
differences by becoming culturally competent.
An early definition of culture quoted by Mumford in 1994 is:
“that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom
and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”
A much simpler definition is one suggested by Gujral in 2000 that describes culture as
comprising of traditional beliefs and social practices that inform the rules for social
interaction within a particular social group(50). These definitions of culture generally
focus on social aspects, thoughts and feelings whereas literature that focuses on
people’s habits and practices which are of particular value to occupational therapists
is difficult to find(40). Thus while there is an implicit assumption that occupational
therapists have a role to play within any given culture, there is little published
literature to support this assumption.
In 1995, both Jang(49) and Kelly(72) made a case for the suitability of occupational
therapy in indigenous cultures by highlighting the commonalities between therapeutic
activities used in occupational therapy and healing approaches found in traditional
medicine in these cultures. They were attempting to demonstrate the acceptability of
occupational therapy within different cultures(49)(72). However, in 2003 Awaad
pointed out that the random introduction of culturally untested practice models could
be seen as inappropriate at best, and unethical at worst(32). It is recommended that
there should be a clear rationale for occupational therapy intervention based on the
clients’ culture by making a careful choice regarding the treatment model to be
applied and occupational therapists should at least demonstrate cultural competence
in dealing with all clients(48).
2.8.1 Cultural Competence
Cultural competence is defined as an awareness of, sensitivity to and having
knowledge of the actual meaning of culture(5). Culturally competent people can be
seen as those who have moved from a state of cultural unawareness, to being
culturally sensitive to their own cultural issues and how their values and biases affect
clients from different cultural groups(6). Therapists need to understand the concept
and nature of culture in order to skilfully use specific cultural information that is based
on knowledge, to ensure successful interaction with clients. They further need to
focus on the importance of the awareness of their own cultural background and
values(32). Numerous authors have identified the important elements of cultural
competence in occupational therapy based on a holistic approach, a core concept in
the profession, of which cultural sensitivity is a feature(41)(72).
The focus on culture in occupational therapy has mainly been on the competency and
sensitivity of practitioners towards their clients. However, the cultural constructs of
occupational therapy itself and its implications when contemplating issues of meaning
and inclusion in our clients’ lives are rarely questioned. In 2004 Iwama asked the
“Do our current epistemologies, ideologies, theories and practices in
occupational therapy truly abide within the lived realities of those we
Cultural competence is one of the least developed aspects of occupational therapy,
with little guidance on how it is viewed in the models of practice and how it can be
achieved in clinical practice(42)(72).
The occupational therapists’ selection of models should therefore allow for the
interpretation of the personal meaning of occupation by the client, as selection of the
correct models has the potential not only to guide our therapeutic intervention, but
also allows for active client involvement in order to enhance client centred
intervention, that is sensitive to the client’s cultural context.
2.9 CLIENT CENTRED PRACTICE AND CLINICAL REASONING
The occupational therapy models selected for practice should also result in client-
centred practice which indicates a partnership between the client and the therapist
that empowers the client to engage in functional performance and fulfil their
occupational roles in a variety of different ways in familiar environments. Client
centred practice is based on the belief that given the opportunity, the client best
understands his own occupational performance needs and its importance for
maintaining the therapeutic relationship essential to therapy(7).
However, there is however concern that occupational therapists use models to
provide “recipes” when treating clients and those models are not applied in clinical
practice to make practice as client centred as it should be(7). This lack of culturally
relevant, occupation focussed, client centred intervention was highlighted in a study in
Pennsylvania where occupational therapy students reported the following after their
level one physical fieldwork:
“Occupations that were meaningful to clients were rarely used; there where
seldom collaboration between therapists and clients regarding treatment
planning; identical treatment plans designed by therapists in the form of
checklist of exercises and activities where used across the board” (p5)(66).
Another study conducted in 2000 in a child and adolescent mental health care setting
(51) in the United Kingdom (UK), supported these findings and also indicated a lack
of the unique use of occupation in occupational therapy. This UK study described
occupational therapists as chameleons, quietly blending into the background, with no
unique role other than providing a consistent backdrop. Their contribution to the team
was dependent on their colleagues, their clients and the practice context. This is a
typical example of the dilemma highlighted in 1999 by Wilcock(29) in which
occupational therapist fail to incorporate the theoretical base of models into practice
and lack the shared philosophy of occupation for health. The question was further
raised that the “chameleon’s” presence, may not be missed when it is gone(51),
emphasizing the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of occupational therapy and
the resulting uncertainty about the profession’s future sustainability and development.
It is an occupational therapist’s ability to reason clinically, based on knowledge and
expertise in applying models that allows for the client’s preferences and values to be
considered, which in turn leads to the application of appropriate practice models.
Clinical reasoning is used to determine whether evidence “fits” with each feature of a
client’s specific context. Active involvement of the client, and where possible the
family or carer is important when decisions are made to determine future plans(8).
Dating back to the first studies on clinical reasoning it is described as the use of
introspection, either from “thinking out loud” or from “stimulated recall”. In a study by
Norman, Young and Brooks in 2007 a twofold strategy that does not rely on memory
alone is described. The novice therapist learns the theoretical rules and then
practices them on some cases. The more expert clinician learns not only the rules,
but also learns from cases that exemplify the rules(73). The key difference between
expert and novice occupational therapists has been identified as their ability to think
in action and reason(68). Expert occupational therapists are more able to include
cultural concerns and adjust treatment to their clients and might approach a client’s
problems with a particular set of goals in mind. However, careful thinking and
reasoning might alter their actions taken. After several therapeutic interactions, the
goals might be altered as the therapists develops a greater understanding and see
the situation more clearly(74).
In 1991 Thomas, Wearing and Bennett, found five main differences between novice
and expert physicians and nurses with regard to the diagnostic problem solving and
decision-making abilities(75). Firstly, expert clinicians can compare a current problem
to their recollection of past cases due to their more comprehensive knowledge base
of correct and varied treatment modalities. Secondly, they are more able to recall
critical cues, such a provided by the cultural context, and therefore spending less time
on irrelevant information, than the novice clinician. Thirdly, novice clinicians need to
collect supporting information to confirm a hypothesis, whereas experts use an
appropriate disconfirming hypothesis from past experience. They have a cultural
awareness and are open to new ideas. Fourthly, clinical problems are solved faster
by expert clinicians due to the last difference which is that experts have generally
better problem solving and clinical reasoning skills developed through multiple
interactions with clients, than novices(68).
Schell and Schell explained the development of clinical reasoning skills in
occupational therapy practice in 2008, in comparison to the number of clinical
experience. They describe the competent therapist (three years’ experience) as
attending to more issues and having ability to source relevant data. The proficient
therapist (five years’ experience) is described as flexible with an ability to combine
different approaches in creative ways. Therefore, a therapist’s utilization of theory is
directly related to their clinical reasoning abilities(74).
The profession of occupational therapy has been developed predominantly within the
Western world. Its constructs and philosophies are therefore situated within a
Western worldview in which personal autonomy and mastery over the environment is
essential for health and wellbeing. The development of occupational science in the
1980’s further influenced the development of the profession, leading to the
emergence of conceptual models for practice. This refocused occupational therapy on
occupation as core of the profession. The socio-ecological model of health then
influenced the development of occupational therapy models with the inclusion of
occupation in relation to a population/group context as well as that of an autonomous
individual. This also resulted in the development of models from another cultural
perspective and the Kawa Model was introduced in 2004. The application of models
in clinical practice was seen to be influenced by the therapist’s cultural competence,
their application of client centred practice and their ability to apply clinical reasoning.
The steps of the study are outlined in this chapter. Sampling from the specific group
of occupational therapist as well as the data collection method, data collection
instrument and methods of data analysis are discussed in relation to the objectives of
the study. The trustworthiness of the study and ethical considerations throughout are
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
A single descriptive case study methodology was applied. This approach was
appropriate to use in order to answer questions on how and why occupational
therapists, who attended a workshop on the Kawa Model, use models in their clinical
practice followed by specific questions on their perceptions of the application and
suitability of the Kawa Model in occupational therapy.
The use of a case study approach in particular was valid as it provided an overall
holistic approach that ensured that the researcher took all factors into consideration
when exploring the applicability and therapeutic relevance of models in the
contextual conditions that were relevant to the phenomenon studied(23)(74). The
descriptive case study approach was therefore used in order to describe the
phenomenon in the real-life context as it occurred(25). Research participants’
behaviour and responses were not manipulated by the researcher during the use of
A single case study with embedded units was applicable as the researcher, guided by
the study objectives, was interested in the influences of the various contexts on model
use and how these contributed to decision-making in clinical practice by occupational
therapists. Embedded subunits from this specific group of occupational therapists
who reported on the single case, model use, considered different fields of
CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
occupational therapy and clients from different cultures. Subunits within the larger
case enhanced data analysis as the data were analysed within the subunits both
separately (within case analysis) and also across all the subunits (cross-case
analysis). This rich engagement with the data highlighted the case and ensured more
In comparison to other qualitative research designs, case study design investigators
can collect and integrate quantitative data. This facilitated the reaching of a holistic
understanding of the phenomenon studied(23). Phenomena encountered in health
and social sciences are very complex and by using both a quantitative and a
qualitative approach to research could ensure that more insights are generated on the
issue than using only one method. The use of models is complex, therefore justifying
the use of this research method. Turpin and Iwama emphasized the importance of
not only exploring models in order to gain a superficial understanding of the concepts
of occupational therapy, but for enhanced understanding to occur that can facilitate
application of the models in practice(10).
Qualitative survey data were gathered in the first data collection phase to obtained
information about model use by the participants in different fields of practice as well
as consensus about their views on the Kawa model immediately after the completion
of a Kawa Model workshop organised by the researcher.
The participants’ perceptions about applying the Kawa model could only be
investigated once they had had to apply the model in their practice. Qualitative
methods were then specifically used as there was little to no information available on
the phenomenon under investigation(24), i.e. the use of models in a chronic field of
practice in an occupational therapy setting in South Africa, and the relevance of the
Kawa Model. Therefore a time series data collection in which data were collected at
various intervals was used with qualitative data being collected at one month and four
months after they had completed the workshop and applied the model in therapy, so
that information from the first interview could be used to guide the questions in the
second interview. The inclusion of the qualitative elements in the design allowed the
researcher to explore real life experiences of both the therapists in relation to the use
of the Kawa Model, as well as the situations and the context in which it was used(76).
This study therefore used both quantitative and qualitative research methods at three
separate data collection points(30).
3.1.1. Propositions for the study
The main proposition for this study was that conceptual/practice models used by
occupational therapists facilitate “the selection of intervention strategies appropriate
for the specific needs of the individual” p.17 and assist the therapist “in looking
beyond the obvious functional deficits, thereby ensuring a more holistic approach”
p.17 for all complexities presented by each client(14)(77).
The proposition or theoretical framework used to guide this study is based on
literature that states that
occupational therapy conceptual/practice models describe the body of
knowledge developed within the profession of occupational therapy to inform
occupational therapy conceptual/practice models provide theory that address
unique practice circumstances(14).
Occupational therapy conceptual/practice models guide assessment and
intervention and support clinical reasoning in determining the most appropriate
outcome for patients(78).
occupational therapy conceptual/practice models should allow occupational
therapists to achieve a comprehensive view of the client(10)(79).
3.1.2 Outline of the study
A description of a preliminary stage, a workshop on the Kawa Model arranged by the
researcher prior to the commencement of the study is described below. The rest of
the study was completed and was presented separately for each data collection point
Figure 3.1 Outline of entire methodology
• Attendance at the Kawa Model workshop
• Created research population
Quantitative Data Collecton
• Objectives 1-3:
• The use of models in occupational therapy
• Pilot of the questionnaire
• Section A -demographic factors • – experience of use of models in clinical practice
• Section B – opinion of the Kawa Model
Qualitative Data Collection
• Objectives 4 and 5:
• Perceptions of the Kawa Model after clinical application
• Semi-structured Interviews
• First intrview
• -perceptions approximately one month after applying The Kawa Model in clinicial practice about the application of the model in clinical practice and its value
• Second interview
• – perceptions approximately four months after applying The Kawa Model in clinical practice on continued use of the model and applicability for the South African context
Within this section, the research design and the methods for the quantitative study
which determined the use of models in clinical practice by a sample of therapists who
attended the Kawa Model workshop is explained first. The participants also reported
on their first impressions of the Kawa Model by answering open-ended questions on
the survey questionnaire immediately after the completion of the workshop.
The research design and the methodology for the qualitative study which explored the
perceptions of the same participants concerning the application of the Kawa Model in
their clinical practice will then be described.
220.127.116.11 Preliminary phase
A preliminary phase that was the first step and an integral part of the research
involved the researcher organising a two day workshop on the Kawa Model which
was advertised on the occupational therapy association of South Africa’s website.
Clinicians interested in this novel model attended. This ensured everyone had the
same information about the Kawa Model prior to the commencement of the study.
Attendees at this workshop served as the population group for the study. All the
occupational therapy clinicians who attended this workshop were invited to participate
in the study.
The researcher was instrumental in initiating Dr Iwama’s visit to South Africa and in
the arrangements and running of a two day workshop on the Kawa Model and its
application in clinical practice for occupational therapists.
Dr Iwama, the developer of the Kawa Model presented a two-day interactive
workshop. Although the Kawa Model was developed in 2004 and published in its final
form in 2006, it was relatively unknown to occupational therapists in South Africa. Due
to logistical reasons occupational therapists working in Gauteng attended the
workshop mainly, with a few therapists attending from outside of the Gauteng area.
They entire group were informed about the research and so they could make an
informed choice about possibly participating in this study. Attendance at the workshop
for all possible participants of the study was essential to ensure that they obtained
sufficient knowledge regarding the model to enable them to use it in their clinical
The following was covered over the two day period:
Day 1: Research, Culture and Theory in Occupational Therapy
Culture and its consequences; a critical examination of contemporary theory
and models in occupational therapy.
Culture as Context for constructing meaning
The research process leading to the development of a new model of
Basic Structure and content of the Kawa Model
Day 2: Kawa Model; the Power of Culturally Responsive Occupational Therapy
Application of the Kawa Model in diverse practice contexts
The Kawa Model and published research surrounding the development of the
18.104.22.168 Quantitative Study: The use of models in occupational therapy
A descriptive survey method was used for gathering quantitative data(80).
Quantitative information on the demographics of participants was obtained in order to
get educational profiles and to establish the context in which they worked. Further
quantitative data were obtained to gather information on their current use of model,
opinions of occupational therapy models in general and more specifically on the Kawa
22.214.171.124 Qualitative Study: Perceptions of the Kawa Model after Clinical Application
The qualitative study used a descriptive approach(82). The purpose was to gather
comprehensive, systematic and in-depth information by interviewing several
participants at two separate intervals over time.
During this phase, data were gathered twice, at approximately one month and
approximately four months after the attendance at the Kawa Model workshop. Semi-
structured interviews(82) were used to gather data. By Using these multiple data
collecting points enabled the researcher to obtain and seek out rich, in-depth
information(82) on the topic under investigation. The use of a semi structured
interview approach was applicable as a number of different people were interviewed
individually over some time, justifying the need for making the process more
consistent, systematic and comprehensive to ensuring that the same basic line of
conversation takes place with each subject. This style did allow the interviewer the
freedom to explore and probe when required, but ensured a level of uniformity(82).
The interview’s main focus was on the use and exploration of the Kawa model with
clients. Therefore, the participants had to apply the Kawa model on at least one client.
The occupational therapists selected the clients with whom they wished to use the
Kawa Model and thus variation was brought in by the varied cultural backgrounds of
the clients that occurred by chance(83).
3.2 SAMPLE SELECTION
All occupational therapists who had attended a two-day workshop on the Kawa Model
were approached to take part in the quantitative part of the study. The 35
participants who attended the Kawa Model workshop thus made up the population for
this study. The population was limited to occupational therapists practicing in Gauteng
treating clients with chronic conditions and therefore made up a very small number of
possible research candidates of 27 possible participants.
3.2.2 Sample selection
126.96.36.199: Phase 1: Quantitative study
Purposive sampling was used to drawn participants from the 35 participants who
attended the Kawa Model workshop. The following inclusion criteria were applied
– Must have attended the two-day workshop on the Kawa Model.
– Must be an occupational therapist registered with HPCSA and practising clinically.
– Must be involved in the treatment of clients with chronic conditions at the time of the
Of the 27 potential participants, only 12 of the occupational therapists who met the
inclusion criteria agreed to take part in the quantitative part (Phase 1) of the study
and complete the questionnaire, resulting in a 44.4% response rate. Three of the
attendees at the workshop were not occupational therapists and were excluded on
that ground. Five other participants who did not meet the inclusion criteria of working
with clients presenting with chronic conditions, where selected to take part in the
piloting of the questionnaire.
The total population of occupational therapists (n=12) who participated in the
quantitative part of the study and were currently working in the field of chronic illness
or disability were approached to participate in the qualitative part of the study. The
sampling was also purposive as occupational therapists working within the clinical
field, specifically with clients presenting with chronic illness or disability, were selected
to participate in the qualitative part of this study. Therapists working with clients who
presented with a chronic illness or disability were included due to their possible long-
standing therapeutic relationship with, and access to their clients. This enabled the
therapists to apply the Kawa Model over time so their experience of using the model
in clinical practice could be explored(82).The sample selected worked in a variety of
practices across the public and private sectors in Gauteng hospitals and other clinical
188.8.131.52: Phase 2: Qualitative study
Seven of the 12 participants from Phase I who were invited to take part in Phase II,
agreed to participate indicating a response rate of 58.33% from the sample who took
part in the quantitative part of the study. These therapists were conveniently
sampled as they indicated they had an opportunity to gain experience of the Kawa
Model in their clinical practice and that they were motivated to use the model within
their current area of practice. This provided enough participants for data saturation
and within and across case analysis for the qualitative part of the study.
3.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS
3.3.1 Phase 1: Quantitative Survey Questionnaire (Appendix A)
The initial data collection point used a questionnaire which consisted of two sections
that were developed by the researcher. The first section gathered information on the
demographics of the participants. The rest of the questionnaire focussed on the
opinions and use of occupational therapy models and the participants’ initial
perceptions of the Kawa Model. In order to ensure that the questionnaire had content
validity and that the questions were not ambiguous and that they were relevant, the
questionnaire was piloted(81).
Section A consisted of 10 demographic questions used to obtain factual data
including the year qualified, details re: post-graduate qualification, current area of
practice and sector, number of years practising as an occupational therapist, gender
and race. (See Appendix A)
Section B consisted of knowledge, opinion and value questions regarding
occupational therapy practice models using open-ended questions. These questions
focussed on their current application of occupational therapy models, the importance
of applying models. The questions in the questionnaire were guided by the literature
of occupational therapy models and the research objectives.
Their impressions of the Kawa Model, level of knowledge of the Kawa Model having
attended the preliminary phase workshop which covered the definition of an
occupational therapy model and information about the Kawa Model. The last question
was on their opinion on the possible application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice.
The construction of these questions was led by the literature and the research
objectives. (See Appendix A)
3.3.2 Phase 2: Qualitative
184.108.40.206. Interview Guide – First Interview (Appendix C)
Within this qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews were used to gather data.
The guide used for this first round of interviews completed approximately one month
after the participants had completed the Kawa Model workshop contained a
combination of questions including knowledge questions and opinion and value
questions to elicit the cognitive and interpretive processes. The researcher used
prompting questioning to ensure clear understanding of what was said and to provide
an opportunity for more information, opinions and feelings to be revealed. The
specific focus of the questions were on the receptiveness of the clients towards the
application of the Kawa Model, if application of the Kawa Model added to intervention
and/or altered course of treatment, the Kawa Models strengths and weaknesses, at
what stage of intervention it was applied and barriers to such application.
Information obtained from the phase 1 (quantitative part) of this study were
analysed first and guided the formulation of questions for the phase 2 (qualitative
part). Formulation of questions was further guided by the research objectives.
Therefore the focus was on the application of the Kawa Model in practice and
participants’ perception of the value of the model within a South African context.
3.3.3 Interview Guide – Second Interview (Appendix D)
Data from the first interview were analysed and guided the development of the
questions for the second round of interviews which were done approximately four
months after the participants had completed the Kawa Model workshop. These
questionnaires contained questions on opinion and value questions to elicit the
cognitive and interpretive processes. The specific focus of the questions in the
qualitative part, was on the continued use of the Kawa Model, the reasons for
continued use/ discontinued use, the future of the Kawa Model within the clinical
context with South African clients and the specific contribution of this model, that is
different from others.
3.4 RESEARCH PROCEDURE
3.4.1 Quantitative Data Collection
Once approval and ethical clearance had been obtained for the study, the information
about the research was presented to all of the 27 occupational therapists who
attended the Kawa Model workshop and who met the inclusion criteria for the study.
This excluded the five occupational therapists who took part in the pilot study to
determine the content validity of the survey questionnaire.
A questionnaire, information letter and informed consent form (Appendix B) were e-
mailed to the 12 participants who agreed to participate in the research. Two weeks
after the initial date, a reminder was sent out asking participants to respond.
Questionnaires were returned via e-mail to the researcher’s address or via fax to the
Occupational Therapy Department of the University of the Witwatersrand, and were
clearly marked for the attention of the researcher. On receipt of the questionnaires,
codes were allocated and used from then onwards to ensure confidentiality.
3.4.2 Qualitative Data Collection
Research participants were contacted by the researcher over the period of the month
that followed the Kawa Model workshop and they were provided with support during
the research process. Detail on the type of support provided is presented in
Participants were requested to apply the Kawa Model with individual or groups of
participants in succession over a one-month period. Participants had a month to
engage with the Kawa model in the clinical field and would have formed some initial
impressions about its use. Once the participants had used the Kawa Model clinically
with on average between three to five clients, or groups of clients in their caseload, an
interview time was arranged with them. This occurred after a period of approximately
one month of applying the Kawa Model in practice, using the interview guide for the
Participants were provided with an information sheet and signed informed consent
and permission to be audio-taped during the interviews (Appendix F) at the start of
the interview. In an attempt to avoid leading questions during interviews, a semi-
structured interview guide was employed during the collection of qualitative data in
order to focus questions. This approach did however allow for the participants to
introduce issues and new concepts not thought of by the researcher(84)(85).
These recorded interviews took approximately 40 minutes each in duration and
focussed on the openness of the clients towards the application of the Kawa Model,
and what it added to intervention, the strengths and weaknesses of the model, the
timing of the application and barriers to such application
Since only one data collection method in this phase of the case study design, namely
semi-structured interviews were used, data saturation was reached in each interview
and by the end of the seven individual interviews, there was no new information
After three months participants were contacted again and requested to take part in a
second interview using a semi-structured interview based on the interview guide
developed for this interview. As before, an interview guide was used to ensure
consistency (Appendix D), but probing questions were used to enable the researcher
to obtain all relevant information.
The focus of these interviews was to establish their perceptions and new insights on
the value of the Kawa Model after a longer period of use. The researcher used
prompting questioning to ensure clear understanding of what was said and to provide
an opportunity for more information, opinions and feelings to be revealed. These
interviews were approximately 50 minutes in duration. After all seven participants
were interviewed no new data was coming through indicating that data saturation was
3.5 DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS
3.5.1 Data Management
Management of the quantitative data involved data preparation, data identification
and data manipulation(84). The data preparation stage involved grouping and typing
up various responses to the open-ended questions.
The data preparation stage for the qualitative data involved verbatim transcription of
individual interviews. The purpose was to create a clear record from which to work
and to obtain a sense of the whole(83). Data identification, identifying similar
segments of data, was done to divide the text data into analytically meaningful
segments that were easy to locate. The researcher ensured that recorded information
was transcribed correctly by personally transcribing each recorded interview. Data
clean-up was done when the researcher listened to the recordings again while
reading the transcription notes. This helped to eliminate mistakes made during initial
transcribing and contributed to the credibility of the information gained.
3.5.2 Data Analysis
220.127.116.11 Phase 1: Quantitative survey
The quantitative data in Section A were grouped according to the numbering of
questions and presented in graph formats using descriptive data. Closed-ended
questions on the questionnaire were analysed using percentage or the number of
participants and frequency distributions. Open-ended questions in Section B were
analysed using percentages and frequency of the responses as well as descriptive
content analysis with quotes to illustrate findings, in order to determine trends in the
answers to the open-ended questions.
18.104.22.168 Phase 2: Qualitative data
Qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews were analysed using
conventional content analysis. According to Hsieh and Shannon this type of analysis
is used to describe a phenomenon and is appropriate when limited literature on the
phenomenon exists. This allows categories to develop from the data(86).This method
of analysis was used during this phase to study a specific case, namely the Kawa
Model, and its use within a South African context(87). Data analysis occurred after
each phase of the study. Emerging insights from quantitative data directed the
collection of qualitative data.
The transcribed data from both series of interviews were read to identify key
concepts. During coding, passages of text were labelled according to content and
then retrieved by collecting similar labelled passages. This led to the start of emerging
concepts or codes, highlighting emerging concepts and ideas(88).A continuous
comparison of participants’ remarks was made and units of data were sorted into
groupings that had something in common. These categories reflected the purpose of
the research and answered the research question. All important, relevant data were
placed within a sub-category and then into main categories to ensure that categories
are clearly refined, mutually exclusive and exhaustive(83).
There were two stages of analysing data; the within-case analysis (vertical analysis)
and the cross-case analysis (horizontal analysis). Each within-case analysis of an
individual interview was treated as a comprehensive case in itself. After the
completion of each single case, cross-case analysis began(83). The most important
consideration when analysing the data was to convey the view of participants on the
clinical application of the Kawa Model and its meaningfulness to the occupational
therapy process within the South African context(89). The researcher was therefore
guided by the research objectives throughout the process.
3.6 VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
3.6.1 Phase 1: Quantitative Survey Questionnaire
22.214.171.124 Pilot Study for content validity
The survey questionnaire was piloted for content validity in two stages by using
representatives of the relevant population to pilot the questionnaire(90). Content
validity was checked in the developmental stages and again during the final field
testing of the questionnaire before it was distributed to the study participants(90).
The pilot study was also used to ensure that the layout of the questionnaire was
acceptable and not ambiguous. The first pilot study in the questionnaire development
was conducted with a sample of five occupational therapists who attended the Kawa
Model workshop and did not meet the inclusion criteria for the study. After completion
of the questionnaire, individual verbal feedback sessions were conducted with each of
the five therapists, in order to obtain the required feedback on the questionnaire.
Therapists had difficulty with the layout of the questionnaire and questioned the
relevance of some of the questions asked.
After the comments on the content, relevance and layout of the questionnaire were
analysed changes that focused mainly on the structure of the questionnaire were
made. Questions were separated into clear sections and rephrased to be more
specific. In the original questionnaire prior to piloting there was no division of
questions into clear sections, hindering the completion and interpretation of the
questionnaire. A second process of piloting on the content validity of the questions
was done with the same sample group to test the new layout and ensure that the
content was now relevant and unambiguous. They thought it was appropriate, thus no
further changes to the questionnaire occurred after the second pilot study.
3.6.2 Trustworthiness of Qualitative data
Prior to commencement of the research the issue of bracketing had to be addressed.
The researcher had prior knowledge of the phenomenon that was obtained while
working as an occupational therapist in Ireland. Therefore, efforts were made by
researchers to put aside her repertoires of knowledge, beliefs, values and
experiences in order to accurately describe participants’ life experiences in the
According to Heidegger meaning is co-developed through our shared humanness and
life experiences. He was of the opinion that experiences cannot be bracketed. It is
acknowledged that a pre-understanding of the phenomenon cannot be eliminated
(Koch, 1995). Although it is not humanly possible for qualitative researchers to be
totally objective, the researcher’s ability to be aware of her own interests, values,
thoughts and perceptions about the use of the model in occupational therapy is vital
Reflection entails “thinking about the conditions for what one is doing [and]
investigating the way in which the theoretical, cultural and political context of
individual and intellectual involvement affects interaction with whatever is being
researched”(92) p.245. The ability to be aware of the researcher’s pre-conceptions
were the key contributing factor, seeing that the findings were mediated through the
researcher as the primary instrument in data collection and analysis. Therefore
throughout the research process, the researcher implemented the concept of
reflexivity(95)(93) to reflect on her experience and become aware of her assumptions
(94). Areas of potential bias were identified to minimize their potential influence(95). A
reflective diary was used to write down thoughts, feelings and perceptions and these
were re-examined during research supervision sessions throughout the research
The researcher’s experiences as a lecturer, engaging with theoretical concepts and
models provided her with an ability to engage with this research topic from various
angles. Her introduction to the Kawa Model on an international stage and meeting
with the author of this model on several occasions provided her with an opportunity to
develop a greater understanding of the importance to critically evaluate theoretical
concepts and models in various contextual scenarios. This understanding was
important in analysing the data, but the researcher was constantly aware of her own
opinions of the Kawa Model. The procedures described above were used to reduce
the bias that these opinions may have had in analysing the data.
Purposeful sampling was used to gain an in-depth understanding of a specified group
who had all participated in the preliminary phase and the quantitative data
collection part of the study and not to learn what is generally true of many. All the
participants were of the same discipline and received the same information on the
Kawa Model, therefore ensuring that the context in which the study was undertaken
was the same for all participants. Qualitative data were analysed by both the
researcher and supervisors separately after which they compared their findings and
reached consensus about the sub-categories, categories and themes, in order to
promote consistency of the findings(23). After this initial comparison, a process of
double coding was used in which the same data was coded again after a period of
time and the results were compared to the original results and adjustments were
made(97). Qualitative data was therefore peer analysed(23). The use of the above
strategies ensured that the results obtained from the data analysed were credible.
The researcher allowed for a four-month period before the second round of interviews
were conducted, to give participants the time to really engage with the model. This
prolonged exposure to the phenomenon under study further allowed for the
researcher to build rapport with participants, reducing the potential for social desirable
responses in interviews(97). In the qualitative data collection part, member
checking was done by e-mailing a list of the derived codes, sub-categories and
categories to them(23). Reflexivity of the researcher was ensured by keeping a
personal reflective diary.
A dense description of the context, methods and outline followed during the study
was documented in the first sections of this chapter. In doing so, researchers would
be able to assess how applicable their findings might be in their contexts. The
research participants represented the typical settings in which occupational therapists
in Gauteng work, namely the public and the private sectors. They further presented
from various South African Universities, age and cultural groups. However, this
limited transferability of the findings to other South African contexts due to the limited
area from which the sample used in the study was drawn(42).
The research process provided multiple data gathering points for each participant,
who participated in the quantitative and the qualitative part of this study. Member
checking was done before the commencement of the second interview. Furthermore
perspectives on and experiences of the Kawa Model provided by participants working
in the private sector was distinctly different from that provided by the participants
working within the public sector. This difference in perspective and experience
remained the same throughout the research(98).
The researcher’s assumptions, worldviews and theoretical orientation were clarified at
the outset of the study during research supervision sessions to minimize the
researcher’s biases. The researcher’s position was clearly explained in terms of self-
awareness and cultural/political consciousness as an ownership of her personal
perspective to ensure more dependable results(82).This was done through the use of
a reflective journal and in regular discussions with her supervisors.
An informal audit trail was used to document the process of the completed analysis
and give an account of the decisions and activities the researcher made throughout
the study. The researcher kept notes of all research activities and data analysis
procedures she followed during the analysis stage of the study. These notes were
used and checked during discussion sessions with supervisors.
126.96.36.199 Data Saturation
Seven of the participants from the quantitative part of this study agreed to take part
in the qualitative part. Within this case study data saturation during the qualitative
part was achieved by the length of the interview, which continued until the researcher
judged that no new information was forthcoming and saturation with that participant
was achieved after probing each aspect for detailed information. Data saturation was
also achieved across cases as by the last interviews with the seventh participant no
new information was forthcoming.
188.8.131.52 Member Checking
A final group session was conducted with four research participants who made
themselves available to ensure that all relevant codes, categories and themes were
accurate and conclusive. All participants were satisfied with the presented data.
3.7 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
An ethical clearance certificate was obtained from the University of the Witwatersrand
Human Research Ethics Committee (Appendix G). The research generated
documentation was dealt with in strict confidence and the purpose for using this data
was made clear to research participants at the onset of each phase to enable
informed consent (Appendix B and F)(82). All research participants had clear
knowledge and understanding of the purpose of the study to enable them to make an
informed decision about their participation as information sheets were
provided(82). They were clear regarding their specific roles and expectations as this
information was outlined within the information sheet and signed informed consent
which also included permission to be audio taped (Appendix F).
The research/participant relationships posed no prominent risks for the participants;
for the researcher and participants were engaging in a professional capacity(83). All
research participants were informed they could withdraw from the research at any
time without any negative consequences. The results of the research were made
available to all participants who participated in both the quantitative and qualitative
part of the study on completion of the project for review purposes before actual
publication of the obtained data(82). All research generated documentation and
interview, as well as interview recordings were stored within a locked up facility and
only the researcher had access to this materials. Backup copies of all information
were made to ensure no loss of data, hence preventing irretrievable data loss(82).
The research materials were stored until the research was completed and will be
destroyed after six years in a confidential manner according to HPCSA requirements.
Confidentiality was maintained by allocated a code (A-L) to all research participants
as information was received. These codes were used from then onwards to ensure
confidentiality of participants.
In this chapter the results for the quantitative data and qualitative data are presented
according to the time series used for the data collection. Data was collected over a
period on four months, at three different data collection intervals. The first section
therefore reports on the quantitative data and content from the open-ended questions
on the survey questionnaire the second section on the different data collection points
for the qualitative data. This facilitates a clear understanding of the results for the
Information obtained from survey questionnaire on the Kawa Model specifically lead
to the development of questions in the qualitative part which focussed on the Kawa
Model specifically. For example, participants who indicated in the survey
questionnaire that the Kawa Model will be suitable for their practice were questioned
about the suitability of this model after clinical application during the qualitative
Although these sections will be separated in the results chapter, the findings will be
combined in the discussion chapter rather than reporting on each section individually.
This convergence adds to the strength of the findings as the various strands of data
were braided together to promote a greater understanding of the case(23).
4.2 RESULTS FROM Phase 1: THE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE
Analysis of the data from the questionnaire collected at data collection point one,
focused firstly on how occupational therapists perceived the importance of models
and their current use of practice models. Therapists’ motivations for selecting and
applying models as well as aspects that hinder application of models were
investigated through information obtained from the descriptive analysis of the open
CHAPTER 4 RESULTS
ended questions in the questionnaire. This information was obtained using closed-
ended and open-ended questions.
Secondly, the participants’ impressions of the Kawa Model after attending a two-day
workshop and how they rated their knowledge level on the Kawa Model as well as
their perceptions on its possible usefulness in therapy were determined.
4.2.1 Demographics of the sample
The data for Section A of the questionnaire included the demographics of the sample
that was gathered from the 12 questionnaires that were returned out of a possible
sample of 27, indicating a return rate of 44.4%. This initial sample was diverse in
terms of age, where they worked and years of experience.
However, figure 4.1 shows that the sample was not diverse in terms of population
group and gender with the majority of the sample being white (10/12) and female
(11/12). Only a quarter of the sample (3/12) worked in the public sector (Figure 4.1).
Figure 4.1 – Population group, gender and area of practice of participants (n=12)
Half (50%) of the participants (6/12) obtained their basis qualification from the
University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), with 15% (2/12) obtaining their qualification
Black Indian White Male Female Public Private
from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and 15% (2/12) from the University of
One participant obtained her qualification abroad at Boston University in the USA and
another at the University of the Free State (UFS). There was an equal distribution
regarding the number of years participants were qualified for, within each bracket and
41.6% (5/12) of participants obtained a postgraduate degree or qualification (Figure
Figure 4.2 – Institution of qualification and range of years qualified for participants (n=12)
4.2.2 Views on models and the reasons for application of models in clinical practice
184.108.40.206 Application of occupational therapy models in clinical practice.
Participants were asked to indicate what the importance of using occupational
therapy models was when applying the occupational therapy process in the clinical
Only 50% or half the participants (6/12) indicated that they felt it was very important.
Nine percent fewer participants (5/12) felt that it was somewhat important and only
one participant did not think it was important at all.
WITS UCT UP Boston University
UF <10 Years 10-20 Years
>20 Years Basic Degree
Data obtained from open-ended questions were analysed to determine the
participants’ perceptions of why they apply models clinically. Results indicated that
there are several reasons why therapists use models in practice.
Four participants stated basing their actual practice when implementing assessment
and treatment and deciding on outcomes on models of occupational therapy, meant
that the therapy was consistent with the values and beliefs about occupation and
client centred practice that the profession is based on. The following quote focuses on
the philosophy of client centred practice within occupational therapy;
“ It is a tool that can be used to gain a better understanding of the client and thus guide treatment at the appropriate level, taking the client’s needs into account.” Participant B
One participant clarified this concept when commenting on the application of MOHO
in staying true to the professions’ focus.
“(MOHO) helps to structure client’s roles and responsibilities within their environment.” Participant H
Participants also commented that models provide the theoretical concepts and
structure on which they can reflect in order to enhance patient care. Fifty percent
(6/12) of participants felt that these selected models guide the occupational therapy
process, by providing them with a foundation to work from. A participant from a
private setting commented as follow:
“I don’t like to stick to boundaries, but it (models) gives you a basis to work from.” Participant E
The use of models therefore assists in ensuring that treatment is not only appropriate
in terms of scope and philosophy of occupational therapy but also supported the
therapists to show evidence for the practice of the profession. Two participants were
of the opinion that the application of models in practice supports their provision of
occupation and evidence base therapy.
Seventy five percent (9/12) of the participants commented that the use of models
when planning intervention facilitates their thinking process and helps them to select
appropriate intervention. Therefore using models in practice focuses their thinking
Five of the participants felt that the use of models actually enhanced the client’s
participation and allowed their clients’ needs to be met more effectively. By applying
the models they had a better understanding of the client’s functioning from the client’s
perspective, as seen from the quote below.
“This ensures therapists has understanding of client’s values and priorities and can use these to guide treatment, thereby ensuring client’s participation and compliance.” Participant H
On the other hand, seven of participants highlighted the importance of applying
clinical reasoning to each individual client in practice and not relying completely on
the models chosen as a background guide to therapy as is indicated in this quote:
“(I) think it’s important to use some guidelines but not to get completely bogged down in models and forget to use clinical reasoning.” Participant E
The above point relates to the importance of having an “open mind” when applying
the models in practice which was emphasised by three of participants. In order to
meet their clients’ complex needs they sometimes have to extend their intervention to
use more than one model, referred to as an eclectic approach. The following quote
speaks to this:
“It gives you a structure to work around…, but I like to keep my eyes open for other needs of the patient or parents and will then work outside the model… Be open minded.” Participant K
The ability to use more than one model at a time was supported as participants
indicated that they were familiar with and used a number of models simultaneously in
the close-ended questions. The variety of occupational therapy practice models
currently applied by the participants in their clinical practice is represented in Figure
4.3. The model that is most commonly used by 75% (9/12) of the participants is the
Vona Du Toit Model of Creative Ability (VdTMCA), with the Model of Human
Occupation (MOHO) being used by 65% (8/12) of participants.
The Kawa model was already being used by 50% (6/12) of the participants in clinical
practice. However, the workshop on the Kawa Model that was presented by Dr
Iwama, as part of this study was their first formal introduction to it. Before this
workshop they have been using the Kawa Model from knowledge gained from
textbooks. Various other models where mentioned but applied by less than 20% of
Figure 4.3 – Models currently applied in clinical practice (n=12)
Overall participants indicate that models provide therapists with a collective voice,
making clear what occupational therapists do, for they are based on scientific,
theoretical concepts. An experienced participant form the private sector stated the
“OT’s have difficulty to say what they do- models assist with this aspect” Participant C
COPM EA Kawa VdTMCA MOHO NDT TSM PEPM SI
COPM- Canadian Occupational Performance Model EA- Eclectic approach VdTMCA- Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability MOHO- Model of Human Occupation NDT- Neuro-developmental Techniques TSM-Therapeutic Spiral Model PEPM- Person-Environment-Performance Model
SI – Sensory integration
“Models are scientifically researched and build credibility to your treatment.” Participant C
220.127.116.11 Model application related to employment sector, experience and type of qualification
The use of occupational therapy models by participants in the public sector and those
working in the private sector was considered. Participants working in the private
sector apply a greater variety of models(9) than those in the public sector(2) who only
uses the VdTMCA and the MOHO (Figure 4.4).
The greater variety of models used by participants working in the private sector can
be linked to the following demographic information. Participants working within the
public sector were usually less experienced and had been qualified for a period
varying from three to six years. The participants working in the private sector had a
greater variety of experience and had been qualified for a period varying from four to
over 20 years. It is thus clear that participants from the private sector in this study had
more experience that had an influence on the variety of models they used.
Figure 4.4 – Differences in the use of models in the private sector versus those in the public sector (n=12)
From the open-ended questions the setting participants work in has been frequently
reported as having an influence on their use of models. They tend to apply models
that they feel work in their setting. Both the type of client and the setting influence
their choice of model. A participant working in a private setting motivated why she
applies certain models in her paediatric practice.
“It works for my type of patients. I understand the logic in the models and it is also logic to the parents of the children I am working with.” Participant K
In contrast, participants from the public sector felt that certain models were difficult to
apply within their work setting where patients often had little education and spoke
languages different to that the therapist understood.
“Difficult to apply to our patients and setting.” Participant G
However, in some more reductionist settings, where the focus is on the presenting
diagnosis mainly, participants indicated that the models might not be used to their full
potential. A therapist working in a private hand therapy setting felt the models provide
too much information, which might not be acted on as the clients are not viewed as
COPM EA Kawa VdTMCA MOHO NDT PEPM SI TSM
“(These approaches are) Most appropriate and quickest to apply to hand therapy clients in an environment where time with clients is limited.” Participant B
Availability of time particularly in the private sector, was another factor that influenced
the application of practice models as identified by two participants who reported using
models to guide specific aspects that are assessed. They felt that in settings where
there is time for taking a holistic view, other models may work well.
Experience and type of qualification
The number of occupational therapy models therapists’ use was also described
according to the number of years they have been qualified. (Figure 4.5) Participants
qualified for less than 10 years (4/12) reported using four models on average in
clinical practice, predominantly the VdTMCA and the MOHO.
Those participants that had been qualified for between ten and 20 (4/12) years also
still applied the MOHO most often; however the number of models they used
increased from four to seven on average. Two of the therapist used the Kawa Model
in their clinical practice. The number of models used increased from seven to eight on
average for participants qualified for over 20 years (4/12). Therapists qualified for
longer than 20 years mostly used the VdTMCA and three of these therapists were
already been using the Kawa Model regularly in their practice. It is evident that the
variety of occupational therapy models applied in clinical practice increase in relation
to the number of years a therapist has been qualified.
Figure 4.5 – The number of models used in clinical practice according to the number of years qualified (n=12)
This was confirmed by the analysis of the open-ended questions in terms of
experience, where participants revealed that the experienced therapists often also
used models in combination with each other. Three experience therapists reported
that they prefer to apply an eclectic, “open” approach using different models
together for their assessment and treatment, rather than focusing on one particular
model /treatment technique.
The differences in relation to the type, variety and distribution of models applied by
participant with undergraduate degrees and those with postgraduate qualifications
Although both groups reported using six models on average in their clinical practice,
the MOHO was more commonly applied by participants with an undergraduate
degree (8/12). The VdTMCA was favoured by all participants, particularly by those
with a postgraduate qualification (4/12) and this model was used along with the Kawa
Model by all of the participants with a postgraduate qualification, even before the
>10 years 10-20 Years >20 years
COPM EA Kawa VdTMCA MOHO NDT PEPM SI TSM
workshop on the Kawa Model. Therefore it appeared that those postgraduate training
is influential in therapists using the Kawa Model (Figure 4.6).
Figure 4.6 -Comparison between the application of models and type of qualification (n=12)
When the open-ended questions were analysed it was found that the use of models
was dependent on the background of those who apply them and the experience they
have. The specific personal aspects that influenced the reason that specific models
were selected and used were the participants’ educational backgrounds and their
experience working as occupational therapists.
Half of the participants (6/12) trained at the University of the Witwatersrand. They
reported that they had continued to use the two models taught during their
undergraduate training – the VdTMCA and MOHO and five of them, irrespective of
whether they had a postgraduate qualification or not, reported this was because they
tended to stay within the zone with which they were comfortable. There were too few
graduates from the other universities to comment on this aspect and they did not
comment about it on the questionnaire.
Undergraduate Degree Postgraduate Degree
COPM EA Kawa VdTMCA MOHO NDT PEPM SI TSM
The models that the participants reported using appear to be dependent on their
exposure and knowledge of practice models and this therefore determined the
application of models in their practice. In this study participants within the public
sector had less experience and had had less postgraduate educational opportunities
and exposure to new concepts.
“Don’t know them well enough or haven’t been exposed to them in practice, and as stated above, was never taught models as an undergraduate, so have been inclined to continue practicing the way I always have, without using models specifically.” Participant A
Thus both the participants’ educational background and experience level determined
their knowledge level and confidence in the use of models as seen in this quote:
“I haven’t had much experience or knowledge about the models to use them with confidence.” Participant B
These aspects pertaining to the individual therapist need to be considered when
applying models in practice.
4.2.3 Application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice
18.104.22.168 Current level of knowledge regarding the Kawa model
Participants rated their current knowledge of the Kawa model, after their attendance
at a two- day workshop on a visual analogue scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least
knowledgeable and a score of 10 indicating a high level of knowledge.
Even though some participants had been applying the Kawa model in practice, most
indicated they still had to learn about this model. The highest number of participants
(4/12) rating their knowledge level at six. Seven participants rated their knowledge
from seven to ten with only one participant indicating they felt they had complete
knowledge at level ten. One participant scored their knowledge at level three. (Figure
Figure 4.7 – Participants’ perceived current level of knowledge regarding the Kawa Model (n=12)
In support of these findings 11 (91,6%) out of the 12 participants reported in the open
ended question that after the two day workshop they felt they had increased their
knowledge about the Kawa Model to more than 50% and that the Kawa Model was
easily understandable. They felt that they did not only understand the constructs and
concepts but could also explain them to others and that while the model was complex
it was not difficult to apply clinically. Nine participants indicated that they will continue
to or will start to apply the model clinically within their practice setting.
The participants felt they had no difficulty making sense of the concepts and the
application of the Kawa Model and how the drawing of the river would reflect the
occupational profile or narrative they would normally obtain from a client. They felt
using a drawing instead of writing or talking would be valuable for clients.
“People would rather talk than write, patients feel free to explain picture. Like
metaphor- helps those who lack in verbal expression.” Participant J
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Visual Analouge Scale
.22.214.171.124 Perceived possibility of applying the Kawa Model in current field of practice
As part of the open-ended questions on the questionnaire the participants were asked
to describe their initial impressions of the Kawa Model. Three quarters of the
participants (9/12), including the six who were already familiar with the model felt it
resonated with them. They stated that the Kawa Model makes sense, it is exciting
and they link it to other known methods. These nine participants felt that the use of
the Kawa Model has possible therapeutic potential because it is client centred, allows
clients to reflect over time and it can elicit new findings. The other participants (25%)
(3/12) indicated they felt the Kawa Model was foreign to occupational therapy practice
and that it may be too abstract (5/12).
The same participants when asked to indicate whether they thought they could apply
the Kawa Model in their current clinical practice were positive about this and
supported this possibility. These participants had a positive response to the Kawa
Model, describing the model as exciting. The novelty of a new way of approaching the
client’s perception of their quality of life resonated well with them as indicated by a
participant working within a private setting.
“I loved it; Found it exciting; resonated well with me.” Participant L
The Kawa Model’s client centred nature was identified by five of the participants, as
being able to enhance therapy. Participants felt it really gave the therapists a chance
to understand the client from the clients’ point of view.
“Useful tool to get an idea of where the patients think they are at.” Participant F
“Extremely client centred.” Participant H
The Kawa model was perceived as being a practical tool, and applicable to many
situations with a diverse range of individuals as well as within a group context when
applied to a variety of clients by four participants, as indicated by the following quotes
“I found it very natural and applicable to many situations.” Participant I
“Works well in group settings as well as individual sessions.” Participant E
In a particular instance a participant felt the application of the Kawa Model could yield
“new” results as the application of the Kawa Model elicited information that this
participant could not get from the present methods she was using.
“I think the model might yield some interesting information, sometimes information that didn’t come up in an interview.” Participant B
Participants also commented on the benefits of the Kawa Model in its effectiveness in
addressing all aspects of intervention as an assessment and treatment tool. The
following quote is from a participant from the private sector.
“The Kawa model puts it (assessment findings) into a framework, which is helpful for
assessment and treatment.” Participant D
Participants working within the public sector all stated that they may be able to apply
the Kawa Model within their current practice. The majority of therapists working in the
private sector stated that they could apply the Kawa Model within their current
practice. All the participants qualified for less than 10 years felt that they could apply
the Kawa Model within their current practice and all the participants with a
postgraduate qualification were already applying the model with clients. (Figure 4.8)
Two participants with undergraduate qualifications felt that they were not prepared to
apply this model in their current practice. These therapists practiced in the field of
paediatrics’ and hand therapy. One participant was unsure if she could use the model
in her practice. This participant worked within the field of paediatrics.
Of the participants qualified for more than 10 years’ experience (2/12) felt they could
continue to apply the Kawa Model within their current practice. While the three
participants qualified for longer than 20 years indicated they would continue to use
the model in their practice while the other participant in this group still felt unsure if
she could apply the Kawa Model within her current filed of practice.
Figure 4.8 – Possible application of the Kawa Model in relation to demographic information (n-12)
Two of the participants from both the private and public sector, felt that they could
incorporate the Kawa Model well with the existing models and methods they apply in
practice currently. They compared it to other similar techniques they currently use and
could see the possibility of using it in practice,
“Excellent! Have used it in different ways before the model existed-i.e. draw yourself as a river…” Participant D
“…It also reminds me of the participatory appraisal techniques (eg. Rocks and oxen) that we learnt at varsity.” Participant B
Thus due to its abstract nature five other participants perceived the Kawa Model as
distinctly different from other models they currently apply. They felt that the
application of the model requires a high level of abstract thought, which would
make it difficult for some of their clients to comprehend. This concern was raised
predominantly by participants working within the public sector who were mostly more
inexperienced in comparison to participants from the private sector.
Public Sector Private Sector
<10 years Between 10- 20
>20 years Postgrad Undergrad
Yes No Not Sure
The Kawa Model has perceived benefit to patients within a chronic treatment
phase that needs treatment over time, as indicated by 25% (3/12) of participants and
evident from the quote below by an experienced therapist working within the private
“I have used the Kawa to explain how dementia care mapping could benefit residents. Elderly people also enjoy looking at their lives in retrospect.” Participant C
The results indicated some differences in model use in occupational therapy between
therapists practicing in different employment sectors, who have different experience
and for those with a postgraduate qualification.
The results of the participants opinions on the Kawa Model allowed for the researcher
to develop questions for the data collection after one month, when participants were
able to apply the model in practice and guided the next part of the study, which was to
collect data on the perception of the clinical application of the Kawa model in this
specific case study.
4.3 PHASE 2 RESULTS FOR QUALITATIVE DATA –PERCEPTIONS OF AND CLINICAL APPLICATION OF THE KAWA MODEL
In phase 2 of this study the participants were instructed to apply the Kawa Model
clinically with clients they deemed suitable on their respective case loads. Individual
interviews were conducted after one month and again after four months. The
objectives for this part of the study were: To explore the perceptions of the
occupational therapy participants on the application of the Kawa Model with clients
from different South African cultures in the field of chronic disability or illness after
they had had an opportunity to use it for approximately one month; To explore the
same occupational therapy participants perceptions about the suitability and
continued use of the Kawa Model for their practice context after they had had an
opportunity to use it for approximately four months
Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants, who
had applied the Kawa Model in their clinical practice on the identified two separate
occasions. The participants could described their perception of the use of the model
in clinical practice initially and later when they had had more experience to provide
their impressions of the suitability of the model for their practice context and with
South African clients.
4.3.1 Demographics of the sample
The seven participants selected for this part of the study were purposively sampled
and provided a diverse heterogeneous sample in terms of experience, employment
sector, postgraduate and undergraduate qualifications and years of experience.
(Table 4.1) The majority of the participants worked with clients in the mental health
field of practice.
Table 4.1 Summary of the participants in the qualitative part of this study.
B BSc. OT WITS 1-5 None Public,
D Diploma in OT UP >20 MSc. Private &
E BSc. OT UCT 1-5 None Private
F BSc. OT WITS 5-10 None Public
G BSc. OT WITS 1-5 None Public
J BSc. OT UCT 10-15 MSc. Public
L BSc. OT WITS >20 Honours Psych. Private
4.3.2 Application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice- First Interview after one month
Based on the results of the survey questionnaire about the Kawa Model the questions
for the first qualitative semi structured interviews were developed. This included the
participants’ perception of how receptive the clients were of the model as some
participants felt it was too abstract for some South African clients. They were also
asked to describe what difference if any using the Kawa model made to their
treatment and if it met the potential they thought it might have for both assessment
and intervention. They were then asked to evaluate the Kawa model and its
application to the philosophy of occupational therapy in terms of being client centred
and occupation focussed. Participants were also asked if the perceived barriers they
envisioned still existed or whether they had encountered other barriers to
implementation of the model in their practice.
The data for this phase was collected from semi-structured interviews held with the
participants at one month after they had started using the model was analysed using
inductive coding. The following themes emerged.
Theme 1: Clinical use of the Kawa Model is not simple
The qualitative results highlighted the fact that the use of the Kawa Model in practice
is not simple. The theme emerged from three categories namely: application depends
on…, model characteristics and with whom.
Theme 2: Perceived potential of the Kawa Model in clinical practice.
This theme reports on the potential use of the Kawa model in clinical practice. These
findings are resorted under the opposing categories of limited potential and potential.
The barriers to implementation of the model in clinical practice were reported in this
section. (Table 4.2)
Table 4.2 – Themes, Categories, Sub-Categories and Codes, First Interview
Themes Category Sub- Category
Clinical use of the Kawa Model is not simple
Application depends on…
By whom and how Applied when
– Therapists comfort zone. – Initial attitude towards Kawa Model. – Therapist interprets and adapt model when
applying with clients. – Amount of direction during application of
Kawa Model is therapist dependent. – Therapist cautious how Kawa Model is
presented. – Experienced therapists able to adapt, be
innovative and creative in application of Kawa Model.
– Existing therapeutic relationship aids in
application of Kawa Model.
Barriers Facilitators make it easier
– Kawa Model is unstructured. – Kawa Model requires abstract thought. -Kawa Model provides structure. – Kawa Model expressive tool/creative. – Kawa Model provides “new” findings. – Kawa Model flexible application.
With Whom? Personal Attributes Diagnostic Influences
-Client’s educational background influence ability to relate to Kawa Model.
– Client’s initial attitude towards Kawa Model influence application.
– Client is free to create and add to drawing. – Kawa Model not within frame of reference. – Ability to comprehend abstract thought is
compromised. – Kawa Model works better with clients in the
sub-acute or chronic phase of treatment. -Client requires guidance when applying Kawa
Model in accordance with level of creative ability to reduce anxiety.
Perceived potential of the Kawa Model in clinical practice
No added value Irregular use
-Application of the Kawa Model did not change anything.
– Kawa Model not integrated into practice.
It has Potential
Enhances occupational therapy Philosophy Adds Value
-Kawa Model is Client centred. – Kawa Model focuses on “doing”. -Kawa Model yielded “new” results. -Kawa Model useful for assessment and
formulation of treatment goals.
126.96.36.199 Theme 1: Clinical use of the Kawa Model is not simple
188.8.131.52.1 Application depends on…
Data obtained from research participants after applying the Kawa Model for
approximately a one-month period, indicated that the use of the Kawa Model clinically
is not simple, and that successful use depends on several factors.
By whom and how
As was found for the application of occupational therapy models in general in the
survey questionnaire the application of the Kawa Model depended on the participants’
background and experience as well as on how they chose to apply the Kawa Model
which influenced its use clinically. It was evident that the way in which the Kawa
Model was applied varied depending on the participant’s level of comfort with the
model, their level of experience and knowledge.
It was evident that some participants operated from out of their comfort zone.
Although they were open to applying the Kawa Model, they reverted back to their
known methods and models that were perceived as more beneficial. From the
following quote, it is evident that this participant made the decision not to use this
novel model again, for it did not add to her intervention.
“…but then I didn’t get enough from it to actually change my course of treatment,…so it was just like an exercise.” Participant G
The initial attitude of the therapist towards the Kawa Model influenced the amount of
time and effort they spend with this novel model. For example, the same research
participant explained that application of the Kawa Model did not give her anything
more than what she had before using it. She would much rather use a known
modality that will give her the assessment information that she needs, than to waste
time on applying the Kawa model that might not yield any results/information.
“I found here with my patients, it hasn’t changed anything, and it hasn’t kind of added something that I didn’t pick up with something else.” Participant G
Results indicated that the participants’ attitude influenced the way they approached
and applied the model. Those therapists who were more open to the Kawa Model and
with whom it resonated continued to explore its possible use and potential. It was
however evident from the data that the way in which the Kawa Model was applied and
the amount of direction provided varied depending on who the therapist was and
how they interpreted the Kawa Model. This led to the Kawa Model being applied in a
variety of ways. Those who were less open to the model spend less time explaining it
to their clients, leaving them feeling that they did not apply it as they should have with
unsatisfactory results, as evident in the quotation below.
“This was due to the way the model was applied, very limited direction was given.” Participant F
On the other hand, participants who were open to the Kawa Model spent adequate
time exploring it with their clients and reported that it worked well, as seen from the
following quotation from a therapist working in the private sector.
“It was presented as an Art therapy session, so the clients knew what to expect.” Participant L
Thus the success of the application of the Kawa Model depends on how it is
implemented according to one participant working in the private sector. She however
felt that it should be applied with caution to ensure that the client really understands
the concept of producing their own river drawing that is specific to their life as
indicated by the quote below.
“The way in which the Kawa Model is presented by the therapist can pose problematic if the client tends to just copy your sample drawing.” Participant J
Secondly, the more experienced occupational therapists who have been practising
for longer were able to adapt the Kawa Model during application with ease.
“a couple of clients struggle with the concept of “moving things around” in their blocked up rivers and the therapist then used the model creatively and adapt it in her own way.” Participant E (5 years’ experience)
These experienced participants working within the private sector were able to apply
the model in more creative ways as seen from the quote below.
“…this one lady we had to go as far, she got stuck on that she had a difficult childhood,…so eventually I said to her to cut it out, get rid of it, so she cut out a section, and tore it up and threw it away, then it was fine, then it was much better.””…while it was on the page, while it was in the river it was too much, she couldn’t go past it.” Participant E
This indicates that perhaps experience therapists can be innovative when applying
the Kawa Model. Another participant was also innovative in adjusting the application
of the Kawa Model to fit the clients level, by using clinical reasoning, by cutting out the
various pieces to fit into the river out of paper beforehand,.
”… For the one group of patients I actually gave them a cross section of the thing and showed them the pieces, but I think what might further help and… stop their thoughts of limitations of the model is to give them the pieces, so we are gonna(going to)make different size rocks and different size all those things. That might make it a little bit easier for them to do.” Participant F
Analysis indicated that a further consideration of the timing of applying the Kawa
Model is also perceived as important. It was evident that when there was an existing
therapeutic relationship between the therapist and their client, application of the
Kawa Model was more beneficial. The relationship was seen as allowing the client
to be more open in sharing information with the therapist. Most of the participants in
this study felt that they got better participation and clearer results from those clients
that they have been working with for some time, especially those close to discharge
and also their out-patients.
“I just think their understanding, they (are) not as psychotic, able to focus more, they already have been in OT for a while so they’re more use to you… more willing to share that information.” Participant B
184.108.40.206.2 Model characteristics
The Kawa Model itself has certain characteristics that influenced its use, either
positively or negatively and this impacted on the participants’ ability to implement it
successfully. Research participants identified certain characteristics of the model as
being facilitators and barriers to its application during the use of the Kawa Model
Facilitators make it easier
Participants felt that the Kawa Model provided structure to their treatment session.
They could explain these various components of the model to provide more structure
during discussions with their clients in assessment and treatment sessions. This was
highlighted as one of the strengths of the Kawa model. For example, a participant
from the public sector reported that she explained to the clients that it might give them
more direction when they explore their problems and solutions to them.
“I don’t know if it would change but maybe it will give you a bit of direction…..maybe narrow something that you were wondering about,…narrowed them down.” Participant F
One of the characteristics of the Kawa model that participants reported as being
helpful was the concrete drawing that they could reflect on with their clients. For
example, a participant from the private sector found the following when applying the
Kawa Model on a client presenting with early stage dementia.
“…it was easier to keep her focused because you had something tangible to come back to…”Participant E
Another participant also reported on this characteristic of the Kawa Model,.
“…, so in that way it also gives them an opportunity to reflect,… and it shows them that maybe there is a way out, what they can work on, it kind of makes it concrete and they can see the difficulty, and that’s nice,…” Participant B
The Kawa Model was further found to be an expressive tool, which elicits
creativity from the clients and provided them with a different way of expressing their
thoughts and feelings. This uninhibited way of expressing the self often revealed
new/more information that was not revealed through traditional ways. A participant
working in the private sector with a client who was a former artist said:
“…because the client is gonna (going to) bring stuff in the model that I might not have thought to ask them, so then it will give me more to work with, with that client.” Participant L
Another participant from the private sector explained:
“…it just makes it so much richer, because there is so many things you can obtain,…not necessarily using extra time,… it is very compact,…”Participant J
“…asking them to write about it… you’re stuck about making it sound logical and finding the right expression, so there you don’t need to worry about it (writing), you almost kind off absolved into the drawing itself…”Participant J
This participant continued to say that interpreting what they are saying, as well as
what they are not saying provides you with another layer of information.
“…it is very creative and artistic in that way,(be)cause you can look at it again, and listen to it with a 3rd ear, yea about what they were telling you and what they were not telling you.” Participant J
A further strength of the Kawa model was found in its flexible application. The Kawa
Model was useful as an assessment tool as well as a facilitator during treatment. It
could be applied at the beginning of an intervention, as a guide throughout the
intervention process and as an evaluation tool at the end of the therapeutic process.
The Kawa Model was found to be useful in-group as well as in individual sessions.
“I mean, you could use it as an assessment, you could use it as an intervention, you could use it in terms of psychiatry, you could use it in terms of physical. It is so adaptable…” Participant D
The open guidelines for application were however seen as both a help and a
hindrance. Experienced participants especially found the “open guidelines” for
application useful but some of the novice participants had difficulty with the lack of
clear and specific guidelines for application. The following experienced participant
from the private sector, who liked the Kawa Model’s unstructured nature described it
“…if other models have a solid line going around it, the Kawa model’s got a dotted line going around it,…”Participant L
Another private setting participant felt that the Kawa Model’s open guidelines lend
itself to having therapeutic potential.
“The activity itself is the activity of doing it with somebody; the explanation is another part of the activity; using it as a goal is another part of the activity… I mean, it has such potential.” Participant D
Although participants identified many facilitators pertaining to the Kawa Model itself,
the successful use of the model is dependent on many factors and is complex in
Some of the characteristics of the Kawa Model were identified as being barriers by
the research participants. These were focused around the level of abstract thought
and cognitive ability required by the client to ensure successful application.
Participants expressed the need for a more directive approach for their clients, with
more structure, as indicated by these participants from the public work sector.
“Most of them just saw a river they don’t understand to link it to their lives, so they, ja they haven’t really understood how and why.” Participant G
“It is not that they didn’t want to do it, it is just that they look oddly at me to draw a river of their life.” Participant F
220.127.116.11.3 With Whom?
Research results indicated that the use of the Kawa Model was influenced by the
clients with whom it was used. This aspect contributed to the complexities when using
the Kawa Model clinically. These can be divided into the client’s personal attributes as
well as to the client’s diagnostic influences.
Each client has a specific background, skill set and point of view. The characteristics
of the clients contributed to the complexities when using the Kawa Model clinically. It
was evident from the derived codes that the client’s educational background
seems to influence their ability to relate to and understand the Kawa Model as was
described by a participant from a public work sector. Some participants felt that
clients presenting with a low educational background might not have the abstract
thinking to apply components of the model.
” Ja, they might have never been told, imagine your life as this, it is foreign… and I did it with patients …that where for all intentional purposes high functioning…and they just didn’t cope…,”Participant G
A further influence was the client’s initial impression and attitude when presented
with the Kawa model, for an exercise of this nature might not be within their frame
of reference and could therefore influence their attitude towards it as indicated by
“Some clients were open to the application of the Kawa model and others weren’t. They did not want to draw certain “stuff”.” –“…some stuff they couldn’t draw or they didn’t want to draw it, but others they were more open.” Participant B
In some instances the client’s initial attitude was influenced by their personal
preference when it comes to creative, drawing exercises, further impacting on their
willingness to participate in the use of the Kawa Model as evident from this quote.
“…what if mine doesn’t look like it is supposed to be and I can’t draw and I’m not creative.” Participant E
It was evident that the client’s specific diagnosis influenced their ability to relate to
and cognitively comprehend the Kawa Model, further adding to the importance of
being aware with whom you are considering to apply the Kawa Model. From the
derived codes it was suggested that successful application of the Kawa Model
requires a level of abstract thinking. However, the ability to process abstract thought
is compromised when presenting with certain medical or psychiatric conditions,
involving cognition. Such clients would normally be in an acute phase of their illness
and it was therefore suggested that the Kawa Model would work better with clients in
a sub-acute or chronic phase. Although these clients presented with a chronic
condition, they were admitted to hospital due to an exacerbation of symptoms relating
to their chronic condition.
Due to the clients’ cognitive abilities, they were not able to complete the entire
exercise required during application of the Kawa model independently, needing a
varying amount of guidance from the therapist as evident from the quotations below
by participants working within the public sector.
“…they really have struggled with understanding what to do…”Participant E
“…if you don’t give them the direction, can you expect them to get it,…” Participant F
18.104.22.168 Theme 2: Perceived potential of the Kawa Model in clinical practice.
Data obtained after participants reflected on the complexities of applying the Kawa
Model, separated them into two opposing “camps”, with some participants feeling that
it has limited potential and some feeling that it has potential for clinical application.
These different views are presented below.
22.214.171.124.1 Limited Potential
After using the Kawa Model clinically for a month, some participants felt that it had
limited potential within their setting and the clients they treat.
No added value
The majority of research participants from the public sector felt that the Kawa Model
did not add anything, or significantly alter their intervention with their clients. Their
traditional assessments and applied models were seen as more efficient within their
setting. Application of the Kawa Model alone was seen as insufficient and they felt
they could get the information they needed through the use of the models they were
already using. The following quotes from public sector participants clearly indicate the
Kawa Model’s insufficiency.
“…but then I didn’t get enough from it to actually change my coarse of treatment,…” Participant G
One participant in the public sector found that the use of the Kawa Model was
sometimes useful, but also said it provided her with information she had already
obtained through other models.
“In some ways the information you get from it is good, but in other time is just like a waste of time.” Participant B
Due to the fact that the Kawa Model did not add anything new to the intervention it
was not integrated into departments within the public sector, as part of the protocol
or set of assessments tools. The Kawa model was only applied occasionally due to its
perceived limited potential.
126.96.36.199.2 It has Potential
In contrast with the above category, some participants identified potential when using
the Kawa Model clinically.
Enhances occupational therapy philosophy
Most participants working within the private sector found many ways in which the
Kawa Model enhanced their intervention, indicating its potential. These enhancing
aspects supported the philosophical principles of the profession. It is however
important to mention that some of these enhancing factors were also mentioned or
confirmed by experienced participants working within the public sector. They felt that
the Kawa Model was particularly client centred, more so than any other model that
they currently apply. A participant from the private sector gave this personal account:
“…when you work with the Kawa model you’re getting a very personal set of information, a personal expression of the patient’s stuff, and you working with that, you are not working with what I as the therapist think that person should do,…”Participant L
Other participants from the same service sector stated that the interpretation of the
drawing must be done by the client themselves, making it client centred.
“You can’t say well that a rock says something, they have to say what it is.” Participant D
“…my patient was much more able to tell me what things happened for her, she was the one who done the drawing, she was the one explaining it.” Participant E
A further enhancing factor of the Kawa model in support of the occupational therapy
philosophy is that it enables active involvement from the client in the “doing”
aspect, which is core to occupational therapy intervention as is seen from the quote
“…it is a lot more of a partnership in terms of the session as oppose to me deciding what we are going to do…” Participant E
One participant felt that the Kawa Model was also valuable as it enabled a more
occupation focussed intervention.
“It can enable more occupation focussed intervention depending on how it is used.” Participant D
Research participants identified cases in which the Kawa Model added value to their
clinical practice, clearly indicating it’s potential. The evidence indicated that with
certain clients, especially those within the public sector, the application of the Kawa
Model yielded different information, as discussed under the facilitators and this
added value. The approach used with the Kawa Model is different from the standard
procedures, so clients’ could not give standard answers as described by the following
“I got a lot of psychotic symptoms coming out…I was able to feedback in the ward round and said look it, this lady is actually quite sick…” Participant B
“…I didn’t expect her to have anything in her river, but…, there were lots of other things.”“…so maybe if I haven’t done it with those, … maybe it would have taken us a lot longer to start with all the, …things that you can move forward with.” Participant F
The results further indicated that the Kawa model was useful for assessing clients
and enabled the clear formulation of goals for treatment. Participants described it
as practical to apply and for some of them working within the private sector; the Kawa
model was integrated into their therapy and applied as part of their assessment
“Well, so far for me just at the onset. That’s the level of comfort I have derived” Participant J
It was clear that the participant characteristics, especially experience and the work
sector played a role in the view of the Kawa Model as well as their perception of its
value in their practice. The propositions underlying this case study were supported by
the participants who found the Kawa model valuable in their practice particularly
where the use of the model support the philosophy of the profession, guided
assessment and intervention and allowed for a comprehensive view of the client to be
established. Although three of the participants who were positive about the Kawa
Model had been exploring the Kawa Model before this study was started, they were
made aware of the need to evaluate the use of this model and reflect on the
difference it made to their practice. These participants remained positive about the
use of the Kawa Model with their clients.
The model appears to be difficult for three less experienced participants to apply as it
lacks structure in terms of its application and interpretation.
4.3.3 Continued application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice- qualitative data Second interview after four months
Based on the results of the survey questionnaire and the first interview about the
Kawa Model the questions for the second qualitative semi structured interviews were
developed. Are you currently applying the Kawa model as part of your occupational
therapy intervention? The researcher was interested if the participants had continued
or had reconsidered and began to use the Kawa Model in their practice and whether
they would continue to do so. They were also asked to consider the application of the
model more widely to South African clients and evaluate what the model offered their
practice context overall.
A second interview was conducted after a further four to five month period Three
themes were identified from data obtained after this longer period of clinical
application. Some of the codes correlated with those identified after the one month
period of application and further strengthened results obtained. The following themes
Theme 1: It gets easier with time, but…
This theme highlights the fact that application of the Kawa Model becomes easier with
time. However, from the identified categories application was now dependent on the
participants increased knowledge that led to increased use and the model
characteristics continued to influence its use.
Theme 2: Context influence continued use
Under theme two the context was identified as having an influence on the continued
use of the Kawa Model. It continued to be important to consider with whom and where
to apply the Kawa Model considering the variety of clients seen in therapy in South
Theme 3: Education and support
Under theme three the question of education and support emerged as having an
influence on the continued use of the Kawa Model with South African clients. The
categories of when to introduce the Kawa Model as well as the importance of support
Table 4.3 – Themes, Categories, Sub-Categories and Codes Second Interview
It gets easier with time, but…
Application now depends on…
More knowledge, more able to use Knowledge with interpretation
– Participants motivated to apply Kawa Model. -Participants interpret, present and direct the
application of the Kawa Model. -Participants able to adapt the Kawa Model. – Kawa Model used in conjunction with known
models. – Sufficient knowledge re: Kawa Model. – Discussion groups most valuable to gain
knowledge re: Kawa Model.
Model characteristics continue to influence use
– Kawa Model is abstract. – Kawa Model high cognitive demands. – Kawa Model Provide Holistic view. – Kawa Model enhances cultural aspects. – Kawa Model has a “universal” application – Receptive response from MDT. -Kawa Model elicits “new” information.
Context influenced continued use
With Whom? Personal Attributes Diagnostic Influences
-Client’s ability to self-reflect influences their ability to relate to the Kawa Model.
– Higher functioning clients relates better to the metaphor used in Kawa Model.
– Not all clients suitable for application of the Kawa Model.
– Acute psychiatric clients not suitable for Kawa
Where? Public versus Private Sector
-Setting constraints, not holistic Treatment. – Time constraints in public sector. – Type of treatment offered, acute versus chronic. – Different presentation of patient’s in the two
Education and support
Kawa Model Introduction
Undergraduate introduction Post-Graduate introduction
– Important to obtain knowledge about the Kawa Model.
– Useful for community analysis – Useful as a reflection tool. – Explain what occupational therapy is about. -Kawa Model too complex for undergraduate
students to comprehend and apply. -Lack of clear guidelines for application can pose
a problem for the novice therapist.
Group discussion is essential
Need to discuss its use
-Discussion groups most valuable to gain knowledge re: Kawa model. -Discussion re: model useful after clinical
188.8.131.52 Theme 1: It gets easier with time, but…
184.108.40.206.1 Application now depends on…
The use of the Kawa Model became easier over time but its successful application
still depended on whom and how it is used.
More knowledge, more able to use
Some of the participants who applied the Kawa Model where motivated to
continue exploring its potential in the future with either the same client group or within
a different setting, although they had not found it to be greatly beneficial thus far.
Their reasons provided for continuing to explore the Kawa Model related to its
practical application, user-friendly nature and its potential benefit to the “right” type of
clients. As participants became more knowledgeable, they developed a better
understanding of how to use this model and this further motivated them to continue
exploring it. The following quotes from participants from both the private and the
public sectors indicate continued motivation to use the Kawa Model.
“I think it is a lot more user friendly. I suppose for me, what it provides for me is a way of thinking, as oppose to a whole load of principles that I’m trying to remember….” Participant E
“I think it would be those patients that has a better sense of themselves and can reflect on that and I properly would use it more with our out-patients, because they are the ones that are more ready to think about themselves…” Participant F
The individual factors pertaining to the participant when applying the Kawa Model
were again highlighted by emerging codes during this phase. Regardless of the client
personal and diagnostic factors, the successful application of the Kawa Model was
determined by the specific therapist’s ability to interpret, present and direct the
application of the model. Over time, participants’ ability to adapt the Kawa Model to
suit their needs, improved. The following participant explained it as follow:
“The model is unstructured, but it assists the therapist in adapting it to get some information from her patient. The model can be presented more concretely by giving the patient the various items to place in the river, or the metaphor can be changed to for example a tree of life.” Participant J
It was felt that some lower functioning patients can also benefit from this model if
they are facilitated enough by the therapist. This was evident when the Kawa Model
was applied with a patient presenting with psychosis and one presenting with
dementia, with valuable assessment and therapeutic outcomes.
The participants applied existing knowledge in order to adapt the model; for
example the model of creative ability is applied in order to determine how to adapt the
Knowledge with interpretation
Concerns about the level of knowledge regarding the Kawa Model were re-evaluated
to establish if this was a contributing factor in its use. Research participants felt that
they gained sufficient knowledge about the Kawa model from the two day
workshop, and that application of the model depended on the specific therapists’
interpretation and experience with the model, as explained by the following quote.
“…as Dr. Iwama presented it, which was certainly sufficient. …, but a lot is left into your discretion as an experienced clinician.” Participant J
As they progressed through the research process, exploring the model on a practical
level, discussion groups were perceived as most useful in gaining information
on its use. Hearing how others interpret and use the model opened more options for
those that were not confident in the use of the model. This will be reported on more
under the theme of education and support.
220.127.116.11.2 Model characteristics continue to influence use
The specific characteristics of the Kawa Model that influenced its use, identified in the
first interviews continued to have an influence on the use of the Kawa Model at four
months and remain the same as described above with the facilitating factors far
outweighing the barriers.
Several facilitators for using the Kawa Model were identified after applying the model
for a longer period, were congruent with those reported on earlier in the first interview.
However, several new points came up during the second interviews under this theme
which supported the philosophy underlying occupational therapy practice. Participants
had had time to reflect on the benefits of the model for a longer period and observe
these in their practice.
The Kawa model provided a holistic view of the clients in certain practice
contexts. During application of the Kawa Model participants highlighted the cultural
aspect that is clear within the model, as indicated by the following quote.
“…you know in that drawing there’s certain things that are unique to that individual and the culture in (from) which they come, which may not be picked up with your traditional models.” Participant J
Participants further found that their clients could relate to the metaphor and therefore
felt that the Kawa Model has the potential for being a model that has a universal
application. They also explained that it can be used in a South African context as
well as in other countries as evident by the following quotation by a participant
working within the private sector:
“…the cross-cultural aspect that anyone can use it, so I could use it here in this context in Africa… oversees you could use it as well…” Participant D
This participant continued to explain the Kawa Model’s universal application.
“Creativity, its simplicity, its cross-cultural contextual stuff, it’s easy to use it with younger people, with older people…”Participant D
Participants described the universal application of the Kawa model not just in terms of
the application with clients, but also in terms of the varying fields of occupational
therapy practice, as follow:
“I think all OT’s would use it for it does give quite good insights both ways, giving you insights into the clients preserved adherence into their pathology , and vice versa for the client to reflect and to see into life’s expectations,…”Participant J
The Kawa model, when presented to the multi-disciplinary team received a
positive response as reported by a research participant working in a private facility.
” I presented it at the journal club and there was a very positive response from our inside team, so all of the psychiatrist and everybody sort of getting on board…., so it is something that I think definitely will be useful to keep going with…”Participant E
Some of the research participants chose to continue exploration of the Kawa Model,
even with clients that do not “fit the bill” in terms of cognitive abilities, for example
those presenting with psychosis and was able to elicit “new/more” important
information this way. The following quote is based on an experience with a patient in
the first interview, but it left such an impression on this research participant, that she
mentioned it again at her second interview.
“I’ve used the Kawa with a psychotic patient and it was actually quite interesting (be)cause you saw some psychotic stuff coming out, how people were hiding behind the fish, people that were after her. It was quite paranoid and psychotic, so it was interesting…” Participant B
She continued to explain that the use of a different medium than the usual interview
“I think in an interview, the patients know what kind of questions to expect. They know to answer certain questions. If they want to hide the psychosis they can. Maybe in the drawing it came out because she wasn’t really focused on that.”-“The doctors ask them the same sort of questions, so do the nurses. They know what you are trying to get from them. Maybe with this (drawing of river) it is more comfortable; it’s just a different medium to extract things.” Participant B
Another participant from the same setting gave the following account:
“Then we introduced the Kawa model, she actually cried after we did it because she realized that all her rocks had to do with her relationships, and that she still hadn’t worked through those relationships, so I referred her to a psychologist and now she is going for regular psychology. I would never have known that, if I did not do that because that is not something we talk about in OT….That was actually what was so huge for her.” Participant F
The barrier identified regarding the Kawa Model being abstract as reported above
was again confirmed from data in the second interviews. A further barrier identified at
this time was the high cognitive demands some participants felt the Kawa Model
required from the clients, as seen from the following quote.
“These patients presented with cognitive disorders, HAD and dementia symptoms. One patient was unable to participate due to the cognitive demands of the activity.” Participant F
18.104.22.168 Theme 2: Context influence continued use
The complexities pertaining to the context in which the Kawa Model was used
continued to contribute to its appropriateness and successful use. The clients
themselves as well as the treatment setting they were in provided the context in which
the Kawa Model was used.
22.214.171.124.1 With Whom?
The client base of the participants remained the same throughout the research
process, and continued to contribute to the complexities pertaining to the context.
The perceptions about the influence of the clients’ educational levels expressed in the
first interviews were further explored in terms of the patient’s personal ability to
relate to the metaphor and reflect on their lives and themselves. Data revealed
that participants felt that clients may not have difficulty with reflecting per se, but
maybe are not used to reflecting on their lives and themselves in the way they a
required to when using the Kawa Model.. This insight came from a novice therapist
working in the public sector.
“I’m just assuming that people with a lower level of education, maybe they can’t think that abstract, maybe they don’t think about themselves… and I wonder if the population that we see here actually think about themselves and how they fit into their communities. I see a lot of ladies and they think a lot about their families and their social circumstances, but I wonder if they think about themselves and who they are and how those circumstances actually impact on themselves.” Participant B
The general perception was that “higher functioning” clients can relate better to
the metaphor used during the application of the Kawa Model and as a result, it was
not often applied with clients’ that participant perceived might not “fit the bill”.
“ I found with the ones who were employed, and not just domestic workers, maybe the ones who have a little bit of a higher education, maybe a matrix or maybe want to study, or have been working, maybe some admin kind of job, they seem to do a little bit better… even understanding, grasp the concept a bit better.” Participant B
In the case of these participants it was clear that they had concluded that the Kawa
Model is not suitable for all patients.
Similar information was gathered from the first interviews about the clients’ diagnostic
factors influencing the successful application of the Kawa model. During the second
interview it was made clear that participants felt that patients presenting with active
psychotic symptoms, related to substance withdrawal, will not benefit from the
application of the Kawa Model, as explained by this participant from the public
” …we have a lot of the substance abusers…I mean they are psychotic and high on substance or whatever… I know it is not really going to benefit them to do the model.” Participant G
The two different service sectors in which the participants worked added to the variety
of the context directly.
Public versus Private sector
Research results indicated constraints to the application of models and specifically
constraints in terms of the application of the Kawa Model within the in-patient public
sector. These constraints relate to the lack of time to treat clients effectively due
to short admission periods and lack of resources so that often the client is only
treated in terms of the specific presenting problem as indicated powerfully by the
following two quotes by the same participant.
“I think also that we, like it would be nice to add this into our treatment, but we are trying to get a level of function and not really address the patients problems, like their social and all those kind of problems, so I think the reason that we do it (apply the Kawa Model) most with our out patients is because those are the ones that we do like give some kind of treatment for. The others ones it’s really like, assess your level of function, do what you can, like teach them some stuff and all of that then discharge them to the clinic. So it’s the setting that is very much so limiting.” Participant F
“…you don’t have time to worry about the other issues, you try to treat the problem that they are here for, and whether that is their biggest problem or not, you have to treat it, because it is a big problem.” Participant F
It is not possible to apply a holistic approach, so there is no need to extract all the
specific information from the client, seeing that the occupational therapist would not
be able to treat all the underlying difficulties:
” …so I mean we can say that we are holistic all we want. Here we don’t treat the biggest problem… we treat insight to make sure they take their medication, so that they won’t come back, so even though there can be ten million other things effecting their insight, like you only have two days so you have to treat the most pressing thing.” Participant F
This further highlighted the type of treatment approach followed within a public versus
a private setting, which would be limited services for a client with a chronic
condition in the public sector.
“I think it is different in private, but here we are very limited in what we can actually do for our patients.” Participant F
The difference between private versus the public sector clients were again
highlighted. Participants perceived that they have different abilities in terms of
comprehending the Kawa Model concepts as clients seen in the private sector are
often have greater access to ongoing outpatient therapy and have a higher level of
“I think it would be someone more in a private setting, or clinicians that see a lot of out- patients. I think that those patients are the ones that have more insight and have a better sense of themselves to be able to use a model in that way.” Participant B
“…every now and then, particularly when I get a group were they are good with abstract thoughts, they appreciate metaphor and all of the rest of it, then it is incredibly helpful. Then we’ll do it and they will run with it, they’ll use it throughout their time here and ja… I’m very much getting the sense that there are specific times where it is incredibly helpful, I suppose like any model, the idea is to use it when it’s gonna (going to)work.” Participant E
126.96.36.199 Theme 3: Education and Support
The issue of education and support arose during the second phase of interviews. The
introduction of the Kawa Model and the way in which to support therapists in its
continued use was explored.
188.8.131.52.1 Kawa Model Introduction
Participants gave their opinion about when the Kawa Model should be introduced to
occupational therapy students. They indicated they were positive towards the
introduction of the Kawa Model as part of student undergraduate studies. There was
however one participant who was unsure if the Kawa Model should be introduced to
students and another who felt that it is better placed to be introduced as part of a post
graduate qualification. The motivation for and against the introduction at an
undergraduate level will be discussed under the following sub-categories.
Introduction in undergraduate studies
Research participants in support of the introduction of the Kawa Model at an
undergraduate level made the following arguments:
Firstly, it can work well when having to analyse a community, which is important in
public health training at an undergraduate level as explained by the following
” I think that it would be one of those models that would make a lot of sense to students in particular, because for me…, at UCT there wasn’t a huge emphasis on models. So if it was an option, particularly for the community based stuff….We didn’t have the maturity to realize the impact of us being there and so I think it gives quite a nice framework as a student to work from.” Participant E
Secondly, participants felt in would assist students in their need to reflect on their
“It is also the kind of framework you can take with you, the kind of thing that you can apply to yourself, that as a student you can do and experience and see what it feels like to be on the other side and all that kind of stuff.” Participant E
Thirdly, this same participant felt that the Kawa Model can be introduced to first year
occupational therapy students’, seeing that it gives them an idea of what
occupational therapy is all about.
“Yes, it just kind of explains what OT is about …Everybody’s issues would be different, but the basic principle is that you look at the functioning the flow and all the rest of it.” Participant E
Therefore it would be valuable to have knowledge of the Kawa Model at an
Introduction in postgraduate studies
Although the majority of the participants agreed that the Kawa Model must be
introduced at an undergraduate level, there was a contradicting argument made for
introducing it only at a postgraduate level. There was the fear that the Kawa Model
was too complex to introduce at an undergraduate level. It was further felt that the
“open application” of the Kawa model that lack clear guidelines for application can
pose a problem for the novice therapist, as raised by this participant.
” I think it could be introduced at an undergrad level, but fully taught at a post grad. Level, because especially in psych., there is quite a lot of psychological hmm… interpretations you know and training that one needs to have especially for interpreting the processes for the client because sometimes it is not what is usually what’s on the paper you know it can be a seriously projective type of exercise, so in order to work with those psychological projections you need an understanding of psychological processes and framework.” Participant J
184.108.40.206.2 Group discussion is essential
As mentioned above, discussion groups were most useful in gaining further
knowledge of the Kawa Model. It was however not just about gaining further
knowledge, but also about developing more insight into its use and being encouraged
to continue to explore this “novel” model.
Support groups further facilitate the use of the model
Participants expressed the benefit of discussing the Kawa Model’s potential benefits
and use with other therapists within a group context. The following participant reflects
on her group contact.
“…I think having spoken to other people that have been using it was really the most beneficial thing. Learning about it or whatever, that was one thing and then you can implement it, but then talking to people who had actually done it really helped.” Participant F
Research participants further felt that they benefited from discussion sessions
after they had some time to clinically explore the model. The same participant
continued her reflection.
“… in order to see what you struggling with and what you have questions about because if I haven’t actually done it with a patient, I didn’t really, like I mean you think it’s just draw a river, like how hard can it be, but when you actually do it, then you realize like I wonder what other people do if this happens or you know.” Participant F
The second set of interviews conducted, explored the continued use of the Kawa
Model after a period of approximately four months since the initial introduction to this
model. Participants felt that the application of the Kawa Model gets easier with time,
but identified several factors that continued to influence the successful application of
this model. The specific characteristics of the Kawa Model continued to influence its
use with the facilitating attributes outweighing the barriers. This context continued to
play a role in the successful application. The type of client, their personal attributes
and diagnoses influenced the successful and continued use of the Kawa Model, as
well as the setting, whether they are in a private or a public setting. The continued
use of the Kawa Model was also dependent on whether it will be taught at university
as part of an occupational therapy curriculum, and whether this must be done at an
under graduate or a post graduate level. There were arguments for introducing the
Kawa Model at both an under graduate and a post graduate level. The importance of
group discussions and support groups were final factors that would influence the
continued use of the Kawa Model.
This chapter will discuss the results obtained from both the Phase 1 – quantitative
and Phase 2 -qualitative data. The results will be discussed together rather than
independently as is the recommended method for case study research(23). In case
study research the purpose is to understand the overall phenomenon this case study
focus on. Therefore the results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be converged in this
The descriptive case study research approach was used to determine and explore the
participants’ perceptions on the use of models in general and on the Kawa Model
specifically in qualitative questions, justifying a small sample for phase 2 of the
Results from Phase 1 – quantitative data explains the demographics, educational
qualifications of the participants and their views on the importance of applying
practice models as well as their current use of models. The second section of
quantitative data incorporates the participants’ perceptions of the possible
application of the Kawa Model in clinical practice with patients with chronic conditions
and the usefulness of the model within a South African context. All the information
from phase one and phase two were combined to present a discussion on model use
with a specific enthusiast on the Kawa Model. Information were combined under the
headings of: Influences on model use; Influences of models on ‘doing’; Influences on
the use of the Kawa Model; Use of the Kawa Model in clinical practice; Continued use
of the Kawa Model.
The sample for both phases was not heterogeneous as the majority of the
participants were white females, with black and Indian participants in the minority.
However, this reflects the South African occupational therapy population which is still
predominantly white and female as identified by Crowe and Kenny(99). Therefore,
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION
although it was a small sample, it was reflective of the occupational therapy
The majority of the participants completed their undergraduate training at the
University of the Witwatersrand, which is the university in the area where the study
was conducted. The two main service sectors in which South African occupational
therapists work were represented, namely the public and the private service sectors.
The most common fields of occupational therapy practice within a South African
context were represented within the sample group for this phase, namely psychiatry,
paediatrics and physical rehabilitation.
5.1 INFLUENCES ON MODEL USE
Results indicated that participants in this study understand the importance of practice
models in guiding them through the occupational therapy process, in providing
evidence for practice, and to support the relevance of their intervention. This is in line
with Kielhofner who stated that conceptual practice models offers theory to “guide
practice and research in the field” (p. 3)(1). The results of the survey questionnaire
supported all the propositions (p 34) underlying this case study. The propositions
were that: Occupational therapy conceptual/practice models describe the body of
knowledge developed within the profession of occupational therapy to inform practice;
Occupational therapy conceptual/practice models provide theory that address unique
practice circumstances(14); Occupational therapy conceptual/practice models guide
assessment and intervention and support clinical reasoning in determining the most
appropriate outcome for patients(78); Occupational therapy conceptual/practice
models should allow occupational therapists to achieve a comprehensive view of the
client(10)(79).The participants confirmed that they value model use for the reasons
outlined in these propositions.
A study by Elliot, Velde and Wittman raised concerns about practicing therapists’
inability to explain how they are applying theory in their clinical practice. Seeing that
the application of practice models links theory to practice, and the use of such models
is important to guide effective treatment, the lack of therapists’ ability to articulate the
use of theory was found to be worrying in the study they conducted(1). Although
participants in the current study value the use of models and evidence indicated that
they do apply theoretical models, but they had difficulty in articulating how this is
done. They did however identify many factors that influence how they select and use
Participants indicated that they were using models to guide their clinical practice.
Turpin and Iwama stated that without the ability to make sense of the complex
situations presented in therapy, professional practice can become haphazard,
depending on the individual therapist’s own values(10).However, from the current
study it was evident that even the use of models was to some extent dependant on
the specific participants’ values and believes which affected their interpretation of
such models and ability to implement their theoretical concepts. It was therefore
important that the participants know about the various factors that influence the use of
Factors influencing model use were related to who the therapists were the context in
which they worked and who the clients were. The factors influencing the participant’s
model use will be discussed in the next sections. The factors discussed are
habituation versus experience, experience and clinical reasoning, practice context
and client characteristics.
5.1.1 Habituation versus experience
Therapist characteristics included the inclination of participants to using a model
which was mainly dependent on their attitude to it. From the results it was evident that
the majority of participants were open to models and theory and their initial receptive
attitude to new theory and the use of new models was positive Participants “open
attitude” when applying models was supported by Kielhofner who stated that using
models in practice should not constrain the clinician to a ridged treatment principles,
but should allow to think about how they are conducting their practice, and should be
constantly critiqued. Therefore clinicians should access a number of different models
depending on the clients and the context in which they work(67).
From the results it was clear that participants however do not constantly review their
application of models in intervention, and explore alternative models to ensure that
their interventions maintains its relevance to the client group they serve. Most
participants relied predominantly on models that were taught to them during their
undergraduate studies, and there appears to be a tendency to think that one model
fits all. Therefore the component of habituation has an overriding influencing on
which models are applied in practice. It seems participants were either habituated
through their educational background to choose certain models or that their
habituated ways of within their daily clinical practice impacted on their choices and
use of models. It was evident in that they continued to use models they were taught at
university as well as models that are used by their colleagues within the specific
settings in which they practice.
The majority of participants in this study received their undergraduate education at
the University of the Witwatersrand. As indicated this is due to the sample being
drawn from therapist working mostly in Johannesburg, Gauteng where the University
of the Witwatersrand is the main university. The models taught at this academic
institution were reported as the most frequently used, highlighting the participants’
use the models to which they became habituated as undergraduate students. The
MOHO and VdTMCA were the most frequently applied models. Both these models
have been taught predominantly in the occupational therapy training at the University
of the Witwatersrand since the 1980s and while MOHO is widely applied
internationally with countries like USA where at least 80% of therapists(100) report
basing their therapy on it, the VdTMCA is gaining international recognition outside of
South Africa(71). These models are also taught at the other universities based in
Gauteng and therefore most participants probably studied and applied these models
under guidance over the course of their undergraduate studies where they achieved a
level of confidence and competence in the application of them.
These results are congruent with literature that indicates that therapists tend to
continue the application of models they were taught during their undergraduate
training and there is an association between knowledge of theory and application of
theory. This results in therapists using theories or models in clinical practice based
on their educational background due to familiarity and their sense of competence in
using these models(88). Literature supported this tendency to revert back to habitual
methods, stating that therapists tend to revert back to their known, trusted models
and methods, which have become habit and for they have achieved a level of
efficiency in their use(101). Habituation plays a role when looking at the time
constraints reported earlier and participants within the public sector reported
preferring to apply habituated, standard, time efficient methods, which are less time
consuming to use, and are accustomed to doing so, due to large number of clients
On the other hand experience and new learning can overcome habituation. From this
study it appears that therapists with more experience had exposure to a greater
variety of models. Having more experience they were able to identify the strengths
and weaknesses of commonly used models, and were more receptive and open to
acquiring new knowledge and to exploring its potential. This provided them with a
wider knowledge base. The level of experience therefore not only has an influence on
the number of models used, but also on the participants ability to be open minded, to
critique a model and to use sections of various models that they find useful. This
ability to apply and critique model use by experienced participants is in line with
Bloom’s taxonomy levels of analysis and synthesis where clinical reasoning is at a
level above application of basic procedures(102). Therefore they no longer rely solely
on the models they learnt as undergraduates and habitation in model use is not as
evident in their practice. This increase in theoretical knowledge and model use was
supported in a study by Elliott, Velde and Wittman in which participants stated that
theory was learned at different stages in their professional development. It began at
the academic institution, then continued into fieldwork and then into practice. The first
level of exposure to theory is therefore at the academic institution and then theoretical
knowledge continually increases through experience gained in the practice field(103).
The participants in this study who were more experienced were found to be more
open minded in applying theory than those participants with less experience, as
evident in the crater variety of models they apply. This was confirmed by participants
with less experience who indicated they apply a limited number of models in their
practice. The less experienced participants were more insecure when it came to
exploring new models and therefore reverted back to their known habituated ways
and relied more on models taught during their undergraduate studies and those that
were role modelled by peers, as they tended to use only the two models described
above. Less experienced participants tend to revert back to learnt models that they
tried in the past for they understand its theory and are able to apply it, which is in line
with Bloom’s taxonomy level of knowledge and application(102). This is consistent
with procedural reasoning which is in line with applying procedural knowledge in client
treatment and not considering the client in their context(104).
Further reflection on the results indicate that participants with post graduate
qualifications who were at a different level of clinical reasoning(104) than those with
undergraduate qualifications and were more likely to expand their repertoire of
models. It was found that the concepts of the Kawa Model and its under pinning
philosophy were familiar to, and used by the participants with postgraduate
qualifications only. It appears that conditional reasoning where the therapists are able
to consider the client in their context is required to use this complex model(104).
The Kawa Model was only developed in 2006 and is not taught in undergraduate
education. Therefore participants would have to have actively looked for more
information on the Kawa Model at a graduate level. However, participants with a post-
graduate qualification might have had some exposure to this new model during their
further studies. It is important to note that postgraduate training appears to have
made no difference to the use of models that were applied predominantly, with the
MOHO and the VdTMCA still being used most frequently, irrespective of further
training of the participants, but they do apply a greater variety of models over all. This
is another indication of how even with further education, participants remains
habituated by predominantly using the models taught during their under graduate
studies, but are open to explore and apply other models. This finding was supported
by research on the MOHO in the USA where similar findings were reported. They
found that the MOHO remained the most commonly used model irrespective of years
of experience and postgraduate training(100).
5.1.2 Experience and clinical reasoning
In the cases where participants reported that they used models other than those
learned as undergraduates, the most useful resource for learning about and
continued use of new models was through discussion groups and reflections on the
models’ use with peers. They reported learning about new models from exposure to
peers in the field and there was a tendency of therapists to use models/theory as
seen being applied by respected peers and senior staff. This increased the repertoire
of models used as therapists become more experienced. This role-modelling of peers
for clinical information was supported in a study by Rappolt that looked at how
therapists gather and apply new knowledge with their participants reporting a “heavy
dependence” upon their colleagues in this regard (p.176)(105). This came about as
consultation with peers was seen as the first educational recourse for assistance with
the evaluation and subsequent implementation of new theoretical knowledge(105). It
was clear that participants felt that through sharing experiences with peers and senior
staff they gained knowledge and understanding about other models. This encouraged
them to continue to explore and apply novel models and its theoretical concepts(102).
This allows the therapist to interact with theory which contributes to the development
of interactive and conditional clinical reasoning skills and assists the therapist to
understand her clients in terms of their uniqueness and their context(74). The
development of ‘clinical reasoning skills’ is related to experience, According to Boyt
Schell & Schell, therapists with five years’ experience within their field of practice
have reached a level of proficiency in the development of their clinical reasoning
skills(74). Nine of the participants in Phase 1 quantitative study had five or more
years of experience. It was therefore assumed that these participants have obtained a
proficient level of clinical reasoning abilities. They had the ability to perceive situations
holistically and reflect on experiences, leading to more focussed evaluation and
flexibility in intervention(74). They are further able to creatively combine interactive
and conditional approaches leading to experienced participants’ ability to critique a
model and to identify strengths and weaknesses of models(106).
They were thus to be able select and apply the best parts of the various models to
suit each client. Therefore, experienced participants apart from using more models
reported using their clinical reasoning to substantiate applying a combination of
models in practice, rather than using one exclusive model. They indicated they were
more confident in trying various models, and felt they were more able to apply them
appropriately. Their clinical reasoning and professional decision making abilities could
then be enhanced by their effectiveness in applying new theory(107).
5.1.3 Practice context
An influencing factor on the use of models identified related to context was the
service sector participants worked in. The majority of the participants worked within
the private sector. The data obtained may therefore be influenced by the fact that less
data were obtained from the public sector, due to the unequal distribution of
participants. However, the sample was representative of the Gauteng occupational
therapy population, with more therapists are working within the private sector(99).
Participants in the public sector felt that there were limited opportunities to learn about
new models of practice and acquire new knowledge, due to lack of funding for
courses and the fact that there are few experienced therapists working in this sector.
This meant that they could not learn from respected peers and senior staff and even
when they did have an opportunity to learn new models they felt there was a lack of
adequate time to implement and evaluate the new knowledge. There is also limited
time for exploring alternative theoretical concepts with their clients as the time they
can spend with each client is often dictated by patient volumes, rather than the
client’s specific needs. Therapy is further influenced by rapid discharge of clients from
hospital, meaning that there was little time to achieve treatment outcomes and use
models to their full potential. Participants working in this sector appear to prefer
application of standard, time efficient routines related to procedural reasoning, above
the implementation of new theoretical concepts and models(88)(101)(102)(104). The
same time constraints relating to treatment identified by the public sector participants
in this study were also a concern to the participant practicing in the private sector with
a very specific focus of intervention in hand conditions.
The majority of participants working within the private sector however treated clients
who were in the rehabilitative phase of treatment however, and these participants
were therefore able to treat their clients over a longer period of time. Clients were
treated within an in-patient facility or seen on an out-patient basis. This allowed
participants from this service sector access to a client for long enough to afford them
the opportunity to reach treatment outcomes and afforded them an opportunity to
apply all levels of clinical reasoning which included exploring the use of new models
and theoretical concepts. The extra time allowed them the opportunity to incorporate
the clients’ uniqueness and their unique context into treatment and therefore use the
model most suited to that specific client.
Occupational therapy in the public sector is also practiced within a predominantly bio-
medical context, which is not congruent with occupational therapy philosophy on
which the models are based. When operating within a bio-medical context, the
presenting medical condition and the treatment of such is the main focus. The
underlying, contributing factor to the client’s current conditions seldom gets explored,
for there is only enough time to tend to the specific reason for referral with standard
protocols for assessment and intervention being utilised. The treatment approach is
not holistic, but rather reductionist in nature, which is in contrast to the philosophy of
the occupational therapy profession. Mattingly found that therapists working within a
medical model context experience significant dilemmas. They may often find
themselves torn between their concern to treat the whole person, and a concern
about their credibility within the medical world that pushes therapists to redefine
problems together with treatment goals to fit in with biomedical terms(108).
The majority of participants working within the private sector did not express these
concerns, as their practice is in a more bio-psychosocial health context. The only
participant from the private sector who practiced in a bio-medical context using
standard protocols was a hand therapist, who considered her clients from this context
as the practice of hand therapy is predominantly therapeutic and not rehabilitative.
This was the only participant from the private sector who was not using a variety of
These findings reflect the concern expressed by Elliott et al who identified constraints
in using models and theory in practice due to pragmatic issues similar to those
evident in the current study. Some of the constraints identified by Elliot et al which
correlate with the current findings for the public sector include utilisation of time, acute
practice settings, length of hospital stay and the use of standard protocols. They
found that the notion of using a standard departmental protocol with every patient
may limit the application of different appropriate models of practice further limiting the
therapists clinical reasoning processes(103).
5.1.4 Client characteristics
Another important aspect that was highlighted in the results pertaining to model use
was the characteristics of the clients presenting within the public and the private
sectors. Clients in the public sector where the participants in the study worked were
mostly in an acute phase of their illness and were discharged to services focused on
rehabilitation, or to their respective homes, upon becoming medically stable. Clients
presenting in the private settings where participants worked, were mostly in the
remedial or rehabilitative phase of treatment, which allowed for more comprehensive
rehabilitation intervention. The phase of illness of the clients guided the use of models
and models could not be effectively applied where clients were in an acute/active
phase of their illness, due to symptomatology affecting their ability to reflect and set
realistic goals for themselves. The focus of intervention differed once clients reached
the restorative phase. Within the public sector it was therefore difficult to apply
models effectively as clients were discharged before they could reach the restorative
In summary, a variety of factors influenced what participants’ exposure to models and
theory, their choice of models for application in their clinical practice and their ability
to use these models. These included, but were not limited to their educational
backgrounds, their level of exposure and experience in the clinical field and their
ability to apply clinical reasoning. Apart from these influencing factors two over
encompassing influences affected on the use of models, namely their receptive/open
attitude towards models and their theoretical concepts, and their habituated ways
when choosing which models to apply.
Limited time for intervention, opportunity to acquire new knowledge and explore it,
sector context and presenting clients were also identified as influencing factors
relating to the participants ability in applying models.
5.2 INFLUENCE OF MODELS ON “DOING”
The factors that influence the participants’ choice and use of models discussed above
had a further impact on how these models are applied in the practice of occupational
therapy In this section the influence of model application of the occupational therapy
process of evaluation, intervention and achieving outcomes, is discussed.
The purpose of utilising an occupational therapy model is to guide the occupational
therapy process and to explain phenomena of concern in the field, thus supporting
the proposition that occupational therapy conceptual/practice models guide
assessment and intervention(109). This allows for the formulation of explanations and
guides techniques for therapeutic intervention(103). Participants felt they needed to
be able to evaluate and choose which models will assist them to provide the most
effective occupational therapy. This was supported by McColl who suggested that:
“knowledge and theory exist not only to explain the world around us, but also to guide
professional intervention” (p.12)(110). As the use of models assisted participants in
understand their clients, participants then used this understanding with their clinical
reasoning in order to “do” their interventions(74). Thus further supporting the
proposition in that clinical reasoning is used to determining the most appropriate
outcome for patients(109).
Thus participants acknowledged that essential role of models in the practice of
occupational therapy and they could identify why they used specific models as a
basis for their clinical practice. As indicated above the two most commonly used
models are the MOHO and VdTMCA. Although participants could not articulate how
they apply the models they felt that it did enabled them to provide a unique and
specific intervention through their therapy.
In terms of the occupational therapy process participants in this study felt that specific
models that they apply are occupation focussed models. These models have allowed
for occupational concepts to be reclaimed as part of the professional terminology. The
utilisation of occupationally grounded models and research focused on occupation
facilitates scientific research for evidence based practice(13). Both inexperienced and
experienced participants further felt that these models could be used as a basis for
providing scientific proof for their intervention and assisted them in staying true to the
occupational therapy philosophy.
How the models are applied in the occupational therapy process by the participants
was again influenced by the participants experience and clinical reasoning.
5.2.1 Experience and clinical reasoning
The less experienced participants felt that models helped them to think more clearly
and provided structure that they could follow in understanding the client and planning
intervention to their treatment. This need to follow structure in therapy is an indication
of the level of clinical reasoning of this group of participants. Boyt Schell & Schell
point out that therapists with less than five years’ experience need to follow theory
and are not able to adapt(106). They therefore use a particular model to guide them
step by step using procedural clinical reasoning(108).
This initial interaction with theory and models are vital in developing skills in
occupational therapy specific intervention and should be encouraged, as it enables
participants to become proficient in applying the occupational therapy process. It
remains important for these participants to develop their clinical reasoning skills, they
begin to use more models to provide a framework rather than a step by step guide for
therapy, as their ability to reason and make decisions increases(27).
As skills and knowledge of model use, develop and become more integrated,
experienced participants reported that they use an eclectic approach, relying more on
clinical reasoning in applying a combination of models at once, Kielhofner supported
using an eclectic approach as described by the more experienced participants. He
states that each model has a specific focus and that therapists need to apply a
combination of models in order to address the complex problems of their patients(1).
This emphasises the importance of being proficient in clinical reasoning and having
confidence in the use and application of models in order to critique them and having a
broad knowledge base about various models.
While participants could explain their use of practice models, they had more difficulty
in describing how they apply these models in practice, i.e. their way of doing. This is
attributed to the premise that clinical reasoning is intuitive and therapists do not
actively think about models and what clinical reasoning they are using while ‘doing’.
(74). Therefore participants reported they did not think about exactly how they are
applying the models they used. Participants, who were of the opinion that they do not
use models, realised they did when probing questions were asked by the researcher.
However, they did not consciously think about model application as they had done
during their undergraduate training as they philosophies and principles which guide
model application had become habituated. According to Davies models are
internalized and they guide what the evaluation and provision of the occupational
therapy process. They are what “we carry with us and it manifests in a more subtle
internalized fashion” (p. 56)(27).
In summary, the use of models influenced participants’ way of carrying out the
occupational therapy process by making overt the specific contribution of the
profession. Model use provides structure to the intervention, which was especially
important for the “novice” therapists, to ensure that they can structure their
assessment and intervention. The use of models becomes less overt and more
habituated over time as their application is internalised with experience in clinical
practice. Experienced therapists indicated to have an open mind and a need to work
“outside” of the model at times. The use of models provided participants with an
understanding of their client and their interaction with the model through clinical
reasoning assisted them in providing effective therapy. Participants felt models could
be used to provide scientific evidence for the occupational therapy process.
None of the participants reported factors relating to the context that they worked in,
the uniqueness of their client, or habituated ways as influencing their use of models
when applying the occupational therapy process or ‘doing’.
5.3 INFLUENCES ON THE USE OF THE KAWA MODEL
Models, other than the MOHO and VdTMCA that were used by the participants, were
applied by less than 20% of the participants in their practice. The exception was, the
Kawa Model, which was used by 24% of the participants from Phase 1: quantitative
study, working in private practice, highlighting an existing interest in this “novel”
The participants had varied and contradictory initial reactions to the Kawa Model and
the “novel” way in which it applied ‘client centred theory’. These reactions were firstly
about the interactive nature of the model in which to client takes an active role. The
client is part of the exercise of drawing their Kawa (river), making them an active
participant in the treatment session and enabling them to have some control in the
rehabilitation process. The client is central to the process during the application of this
model, which is not merely applied to them by the therapist. They are engaging in
“doing” a specific exercise that is integral to the application of the Kawa Model.
Secondly, application of the Kawa Model involves the use of a metaphor in nature,
namely a river to express ones current context and situation, taking it to a more
abstract level and making it unusual, having been raised out of an Asian social
Factors that influenced to use of the Kawa Model were also related to the participants’
habituation and experience, the characteristics of the clients and the practice context
in which the participants worked. A further influence relating to the characteristics of
the Kawa Model specifically will be discussed. While these were similar to those
discussed above, only the specific influences participants reported on that pertained
to the Kawa Model are discussed here.
5.3.1 Habituation versus experience
In terms of the participants, those who had previously used or had had exposure to
projective techniques and were familiar with using metaphors and similar exercises in
the past were more positive about applying the Kawa Model in clinical practice.
Participants who were unfamiliar with such methods and who were used to the
traditional way in which models are applied were not as positive about the application
of the Kawa Model.
After being introduced to the Kawa Model, the majority of participants rated their
knowledge as average to high, having completed a two day workshop. Lee, Taylor
and Kielhofner (2009) conclude that “face-to-face exchange and sharing may play an
important role in prompting theory utilization“(p.62)(110). The fact that the participants
had the opportunity to meet the author of this international model and take part in
some practical exercises within a group of professionals appears to have enhanced
their learning experience and resulted in the participants, with the exception of two of
them feeling positive about the use of the model clinically. Thus following their
introduction to the Kawa Model, the majority of participants felt that they could apply
the Kawa model clinically within their settings with the clients they serve.
Participants’ receptiveness and attitude towards this distinctly different model
influenced their motivation to explore its potential in clinical practice during Phase 2:
qualitative study. Participants who agreed to apply the Kawa Model clinically were
from both the public and private sectors. The distribution between the public and the
private sector participants was similar, with four participants from the private sector
and three from the public sector. The majority of the sample was white, with one black
and one Indian participant. Most of these participants had qualified at the University of
the Witwatersrand with a further two at University of Cape Town and one at the
University of Pretoria. This sample group from Phase 2: quantitative part of the study
was therefore a heterogeneous sample in terms of the service sector they worked in
All the participants Phase 2: qualitative part, were positive about the Kawa Model and
chose to participate in this phase which required application of the Kawa Model over
a defined time period. The loss of participants at this stage is supported by study in
which Law and McColl that found fewer therapists actually apply theory than those
that reported valuing theory(91). However valuing models is not enough and they
have to be applied to have any clinical relevance. In this instance although there was
an initial interest in the Kawa Model there was reluctance from some to attempt to
apply it in clinical practice. The reasons for this were not established in this study.
It was clear when interviewing the participants who applied the Kawa Model in their
clinical practices that there was no uniformity in the way in which it was applied to
their respective clients even though they had all attended the workshop on the model.
The instructions given to the clients varied between very specific step by step
explanation to just saying: “Draw a river of your life.” This can be attributed to the
nature of the model and the way in which the model was presented by Dr Iwama who
suggested that the model could clinically be used to “illuminate a client’s narrative” (p.
162), but noted that there is no single correct way of applying it(19). He therefore left
the application very open and subject to the clinician past experience with and
exposure to this type of reflective technique that can influence the way in which they
preferred to present the model.
For the four participants who were already familiar with the Kawa Model some
habituation may have occurred as they all reported using it in their practice. There
were very limited opportunities for other participants to gain exposure to the Kawa
Model as it was not taught during their undergraduate courses and even after
participants has applied the model in clinical practice in Phase 2: qualitative study, the
time was too short for habituation to occur. Participants indicated that they needed
more information and support to apply the model comfortably in practice. They
described discussion groups on the Kawa Model as the most useful in gaining further
knowledge and ideas for application, especially when working with the model
clinically. During these group discussions participants were inspired by the success
stories of colleagues who were using the Kawa Model. This indicates that if support
and regular discussion is provided, therapists might be motivated to continue to
explore the Kawa model’s potential and continue to use it until it becomes habituated.
5.3.2 Experience and clinical reasoning
The more experienced therapists were more comfortable with the fact that the model
does not have prescribed guidelines for application, and described the Kawa Model
as providing them with structure, more so than their usual projective exercises used in
the past. These participants also preferred to incorporate other models during
application of the Kawa Model. Davies supports the notion of models not being
prescriptive as this leads to the consideration of how they can be used in conjunction
with each other in different ways(27). In analysing the evaluation and adaptation of
models during application in clinical practice it was evident in this study that the more
experienced therapists reported applying the model in a more eclectic way.
The Kawa Model limited specific or “open” guidelines for application, required the
participants to use clinical reasoning during the clinical application of the model. This
presented a challenge for the less experienced novice participants’ who still employ a
more procedural level of clinical reasoning(108). They found it difficult to know exactly
how they need to apply the Kawa Model, for they still need instructions to follow in
order to provide them with more structure and guidelines. Thus the non-descriptive
way in which the Kawa Model can be applied was a struggle for novices(10).
Davies pointed out that there is a danger in following models prescriptively, for
models are only there to assist professional practice and needs to be appropriately
adapted to the specific practice setting. It is however not the actual model use, but
more the ability to understand and utilize the model to its full potential that becomes
more refined as clinical reasoning skills improve(27). This is justified when looking at
the use of the Kawa Model by novice therapists, for it is distinctly different from other
models taught, and requires a different level of application and interpretation from
participants(10).This does not imply that novice participants cannot use the Kawa
Model. What it tells us is that they need the necessary support if we want them to use
the Kawa Model. This is an important point that needs to be considered when
introducing new models to inexperienced therapists. Therefore inexperienced
therapists may need to gain experience in using the Kawa Model with the support of a
more experienced therapists as the more experienced participants appear to be able
to use higher levels of interactive and conditional clinical reasoning(108) when
applying the model. They do not need the structure less experienced therapists are
dependent on making it easier for them to assimilate this type of narrative
unstructured model into their practice.
5.3.3 Practice context
Other factors reported by the participants in affecting the application of the Kawa
Model related to work context and the problematic use of the model within a bio-
medical context where standard treatment protocols and lack emphasis on
underlying, contributing factor to the client’s current condition again played a role.
There appeared to be no value in gaining insight into the client’s personal life journey
in this context.
5.3.4 Client characteristics
A further consideration in the application of the Kawa Model pertains to the clients
characteristics. The model requires clients to think on an abstract level. The client’s
specific diagnosis was reported as influencing their ability to think abstractly,
especially when cognition was affected. The ability to think abstractly is often
impaired during the acute stage of illness, when clients’ present with “active
symptoms” This influenced the clients’ ability to understand and relate to the model
during the assessment and treatment process. Clients in the acute phase often had
difficulty thinking and relating to themselves at an abstract level. Additionally the
clients’ educational background also played a role in their ability to relate to and
comprehend the Kawa Model. Clients who access the public sector generally
presents with a lower educational background than those who access private services
according to the health care utilization patterns in South Africa(111). The results
indicated that participants working with clients with a higher educational level were
able to apply the Kawa Model successfully, as opposed to those whose clients with
limited education experienced difficulty relating to the model and thinking abstractly,
in a metaphoric way.
The more experienced participants indicated that they were able to adapt the way in
which they presented the Kawa Model to use it with some clients with deficits in
abstract thinking and cognitive ability. They agreed with Davies who suggested that
the Kawa Model should be put aside and a more fitting model selected in such cases,
especially if “the river metaphor holds less explanatory power in the client’s context”
(p. 161)(27). According to the participants, it was those clients who could relate to
themselves in a metaphoric way, who could be reflective and had clear knowledge of
the purpose of such an exercise that benefitted from the application of the Kawa
In general these were mainly clients who were in a restorative or a rehabilitation
phase of their presenting illness that are more able to think on an abstract level.
Participants who were dealing with clients who presented with an acute episode of
their illness reported less benefit for their clients and that some occupational therapy
models, such as the Kawa Model might not be designed for use in an acute, bio-
medical service context. The importance of establishing the client’s ability and
“readiness”(p.171) to participate in the rehabilitation process was also highlighted by
Therefore the clients that benefited were either outpatients or those closes to
discharge. This applied mostly to clients within the private sector who were medically
more stable where participants were able to mainly use the Kawa Model in individual
assessment and treatment sessions. This is because they had adequate time to
spend with each of their clients. Participants working within the public sector reported
mainly using the Kawa Model during group treatment sessions, as this is how they
coped with large numbers of clients. These participants reported using the Kawa
Model as an evaluation tool at the end of therapy sessions when clients were less
acutely ill. This highlighted the fact that the Kawa Model can be applied at different
stages during the intervention process with clients, but this is influenced by the
service sector context and will be most beneficial in a setting where there is sufficient
time to take a holistic view of the client where there is a realistic therapist to client
ratio, together with clients who are in a restorative rather than acute phase of their
5.3.5 Kawa Model characteristics
A further factor that participants felt influenced on the use of the Kawa Model was the
characteristics of the model itself. Participants identified certain characteristics that
were facilitators as well as barriers to the successful to application of the model in
clinical practice. A facilitator identified was the unique features of the Kawa Model, in
its creativity and expressive nature, its flexibility in terms of application, and its
inclusion of the holistic approach to the client. The barriers identified were those
discussed above in terms of the lack of structure in the application of the model and
the projective techniques involved in its application.
In summary it is clear when considering the influences on the use of the Kawa Model
that it may not be easy for inexperienced therapists to apply and may not benefit all
clients, particularly those in the acute phase of their illness. It is clear however for
therapists that are able to appreciate the projective nature of the model and have the
experience to adapt the application of the model to suit clients, even those with
limited abstract thinking and cognitive ability the model has a lot to offer in terms of
understanding the client holistically.
5.4 USE OF THE KAWA MODEL IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
Several factors influenced the use of the Kawa Model in clinical practice. These
factors were close related to those described above and include who applied the
model or characteristics of the therapists as well as the setting they worked in and the
clients they worked with. The actual model characteristics and how it was interpreted
by the participants further influenced the reported experiences of applying the Kawa
Model in practice. The varying experiences of applying the Kawa Model described by
the participants were for the most part dependent on whom the participants were.
Experienced research participants described many ways in which the Kawa Model
facilitated their therapeutic intervention. The use of the Kawa Model was described as
being flexible and adaptable. They could determine the stage of intervention at which
they wanted to introduce the Kawa Model and whether they want to use it with an
individual client or within a group context. Adaptations were made to the application of
the Kawa Model by addressing the abstract nature of the model and making the
exercise more concrete. Participants reported, using a real stream on occasion and
having the various pieces drawn and cut out so the client could place them in the river
he drew and did not have to visualise and draw the other components. These
participants adapted the process of application to meet their client’s abilities
especially their cognitive abilities and used the insights gained through the VdTMCA,
to guide her application of the Kawa Model. This example indicates the experienced
participants’ ability to use models in combination and adapt the application of the
models to accommodate the client’s cognitive and creative ability level in an effective
Caution must be taken when adapting the way in which the Kawa Model is presented
to clients. For example, it is important that the therapist allow the client to do the
drawing and not do it for them, while trying to reduce the steps during the process of
application. This expressed concern was highlighted in the study by Wada, that the
clinician might take over and do the drawing on behalf of the client, emphasising that
this approach might fail to capture the clients perceived hindrances or facilitators of
life flow, due to the “inner self that is not made overt”(p. 232)(99). The experience
participants who adapted the application of the Kawa Model explained that they had
not taken over doing the steps in the application and that they had realistic
expectation of their clients. They could evaluate when the adaptations were
inadequate to meet the clients’ cognitive needs which resulted in increased anxiety in
the client. This flexible and adaptable use allowed the participants to apply(9) their
clinical reasoning and decision-making. Davies encourages clinicians to adapt and
even alter the Kawa Model’s conceptual and structural ways to match the specific
contexts of their diverse client groups(27).
The participants mentioned and were positive about using the Kawa Model with a
diverse group of clients’ where each client brought their own unique circumstances
out in their drawing. Davies points out the value of the Kawa Model is its natural
design and contextual application of each client’s river (kawa) which is unique(27).
The fact that each client depicts their unique circumstances made the use of Kawa
Model universal and not condition specific allowing for the use of the bio-psychosocial
model of health and providing them the opportunity to gain a more holistic
understanding of their clients(9). Case studies from Iwama’s book on the Kawa Model
presents similar findings(19).Thus the use of the Kawa Model provides a holistic,
contextual view of the client, that is revealed through the use of the river (Kawa)
Experienced participants’ described the Kawa Model as providing them with structure.
This is attributed to the fact that these participants were comparing the Kawa Model
to other, previously used projective techniques, and found that the Kawa Model
provided structure to an exercise of this nature. It is important to note that Iwama
never intended for the Kawa Model to provide an organized structure in the same way
as other existing models, whose constructs are not shared with clients. Iwama’s
intentions with the development of the Kawa Model were to provide a basis for
discussion with clients other facilitating factors of the Kawa Model as described by
experienced clinicians were based on the model’s potential in terms of its use as an
assessment tool. Participants’ explained that they elicited “new” information during
the use of the Kawa Model during assessment. Clients who were used to the routine
questions and methods often develop standard responses, at times not reflecting on
their true problems and not revealing their true realities of their situation. The drawing
used in the Kawa Model is a creative and practical tool, which does not require
standard responses, but rather allows the client to think about and reveal their actual
view of their reality. With these new insights into the client’s reality, the intervention
became more focused.
The last facilitator fact in relation to the application of the Kawa Model in clinical
practice was described by an experienced therapist working in the private sector. She
explained that the multi-disciplinary team she worked with responded well to the use
of the Kawa Model in her practice. They found it interesting and wanted to explore
some of the issues identified in the specific client’s river from out of their own
professional perspective. Thus the use of the model can be extended so the use of
the river metaphor is used to explain how each member of the professional teams’
intervention fits into and contribute to the client’s life situation(27).
These factors while much appreciated by the experienced participants posed a
problem for inexperienced novice participants, who reported that the Kawa Model was
unstructured and difficult to use effectively in clinical practice. They felt that the Kawa
model did not add anything, or significantly alter their intervention with their clients.
For this reason the Kawa Model was not integrated into their departments as part of
the protocol or set of assessments used. Their traditional assessments and applied
models were seen as more efficient within their setting which can be attributed to their
level of clinical reasoning as well as their tendency to operate in a habituated manner
or that they working within a bio-medical context in the public sector.
These participants identified a limited number of clients that they could successfully
use the Kawa Model with, due to factors discussed above pertaining to the clients’
themselves and to the service sector context in which they worked. They reported
that for their group of clients, the use of the Kawa Model alone was insufficient and
only confirmed some information already identified through the use of their traditional
model application and methods. Therefore, the Kawa model was only applied
occasionally. One experienced participant working within the public sector found the
Kawa Model enhanced her intervention indicating that the influencing factor for the
successful application of the Kawa Model is probably not related as much to the
context in which they work, but that the participant’s level of experience and clinical
reasoning abilities have a bigger influencing impact on the use of the Kawa Model.
The participants who felt that the Kawa Model has potential future use indicated that
the model enhanced their ability to facilitate the philosophy of occupational therapy by
delivering client centred intervention. This was facilitated by the due to its client
centred nature, in which the client is fully involved and part of the process, by doing
the actual drawing and interpreting the information. The use of the Kawa Model was
described as a personal and powerful experience which led to the emerging of ‘new’
and different information that was of a personal nature and not picked up before when
using the traditional models and assessments. This gain from using the Kawa Model
resulted in a decision by these experienced participants to integrate the Kawa Model
into their respective practices or to continue to use it on a regular basis. This
underlying client centred philosophy of the Kawa Model was supported by a recent
study conducted in Japan(99), in which the use of the Kawa Model was seen to
enable client centred intervention. The strength of the Kawa Model, in terms of it
being client centred was also appreciated by the less experienced participants
working but they did not feel this was appropriate for application to their clients. They
felt their clients who were predominantly within an acute phase of their illness, were
not able to take such an active role in their treatment and therefore were not able to
fully benefit from this client centred approach. They reported that due to the effects of
the client’s illness their clients were not able to be an active partner in the planning
and execution of their therapy. This indicates that the Kawa Model may not be
beneficial to clients who cannot actively participate in their intervention.
The application of the Kawa model in clinical practice was seen as positive and
beneficial by the experienced participants who could because of the level of clinical
reasoning apply the model effectively with her clients. These participants were able to
adapt the Kawa Modell for use with different clients and could use it in combination
with other models. They feel the model provides benefit to both their practice and that
of the multidisciplinary team and allows them to practice in a client centred way that
supports the philosophy of occupational therapy. They reported that they would
continue to use the model as it enhanced their practice.
In contrast the inexperienced participants who treat more acutely ill patients in large
numbers felt the model was not effective and added nothing to their practice. They felt
their clients were not able to be active partners in their own therapy. They felt the
model was not appropriate for their practice.
5.5 CONTINUED USE OF THE KAWA MODEL
Participants were approached after a prolonged use of the model in clinical practice to
provide their opinions about the continued use of the model in the South African
context. This discussion included the need for educating other therapists about the
model. Iwama claimed that the model is a-cultural and applicable in any context for
the context is integrated and an integral part of the “river”(19). This was supported in
this study where participants indicated it was that it is not so much about cultural
diversity but rather about the clients’ abilities to relate abstractly according to their
cognitive ability and their presenting phase of illness, to the concepts in the model,
which makes it problematic for to apply the model on a continual basis. Participants
did not indicate that this model was superior in assessing and treating clients from
non-Western backgrounds. The model provided them with a unique view of the client
irrespective of their background and it was the clients’ cognitive ability and their ability
to think abstractly that had the most influence on whether the model was beneficial to
Thus the continued use of the model is a possibility in the South African context if
cognisance is taken of the factors discussed above that influence it use and
application in clinical practice. Results indicate that the participants who were using
the model became more knowledgeable about how to apply the model over the
period of three months, and were more able to identify which clients would benefit
from them using the model with them. They further reported that they were better at
being able to interpret the model as they gained experience with client cases and
from interaction with other therapists during discussion groups on the Kawa Model.
This led to them becoming familiar and comfortable with applying the model in
When it comes to continued application of the Kawa Model, the influencing factor of
habituation, on participants must be considered. Although participants were receptive
to the continued application of the Kawa Model, they still made use of their traditional,
well known, habituated models and it appears that the inexperienced participants
were probably not going to continue to use the Kawa Model and will continue to use
other more familiar models which the participants reported using constantly and
comfortably with a variety of clients in the South African context. It was found that all
participants relied heavily on these models, taught to them during their undergraduate
training. It appears that these the models we taught to students at an undergraduate
level are applicable and relevant to their practice settings in which they will be
practicing once qualified. Since occupational therapists have to do a year in the public
sector when they qualify and often work in the public sector until they gain some
experience, it appears that the MOHO and the VdTMCA are adequate for their
practice, as these models can be applied in these bio-medical acute settings.
While the participants in this study supported the introduction of the Kawa Model at
an undergraduate level, one experienced clinician working within the private sector,
expressed caution at introducing the Kawa Model to inexperienced therapists. This
caution related to the unstructured nature and “open” application of the Kawa Model.
Novice participants had expressed a need for a structure to guide them in
intervention, and see models as providing such a structure. The unstructured nature
of the Kawa Model was confirmed by both novice and experienced participants, and
thus might not be suitable for novices and inexperienced therapists to attempt to
apply this model in their clinical practice and use projective techniques in analysing
their clients narratives. The main argument made towards including the Kawa Model
in the undergraduate curriculum was that it will teach students how to reflect on++
their clients and how to be truly client centred. Again this may not be within what is
expected of a newly qualified student who is only expected to use procedural clinical
reasoning. It was felt that other models better give them assistance in analysing a
community, and providing a basis for what occupational therapy is all about. These
models provide an adequate base on which to their professional careers. The results
of the study support the caution offered by the one experienced therapists.
The most useful way in which to obtain new knowledge has already been discussed
under the section on the factors that influence model use and was identified as
participation in discussion groups and reflections on its use with peers. It appears that
the best place to learn a model would be during formalised postgraduate training, as
this context allows for discussion and reflection with peers and supervisors. This
training could result in the Kawa Model being applied in combination with habituated
models taught during undergraduate training. The introduction of another model at a
post graduate qualification is strengthened by the argument that it is the experienced
therapists that are best able to apply a reflective model like the Kawa Model and use
it in combination with the models they already use.
From the discussion it is evident that, as is the case with most models, the Kawa
Model has a potential use within a South African context if applied in the occupational
therapy process with suitable clients, at the right time in their recovery, by
The characteristics of the Kawa Model, that makes it different form other models that
were developed in a Western context, make it more difficult to apply by therapists
who train and work within a Western context. The participants in this study all
identified more with the models that were developed within a Western culture.
However, the more experienced therapists were able to relate to the Kawa Model.
They were able to move away from some of the Western cultural concepts and apply
their clinical reasoning during application of the Kawa Model. Therefore, it would be
most appropriate to teach the Kawa Model to occupational therapy students during
The aim of this study was to determine the perceptions of clinicians about the
occupational therapy models that they currently apply in their clinical practice and
how they perceive the introduction of the Kawa model in the treatment of clients with
chronic diseases/disability in the South African context.
A descriptive case study research approach was used. Information was gathered
using a questionnaire with both close ended and semi-structured questions, obtaining
quantitative data. Semi-structured interviews were used during Phase2: qualitative
study to gather qualitative information. Quantitative data was analysed using
descriptive stats and for qualitative data conventional content analysis was done.
Information was obtained regarding factors which influenced the choice of models
currently used by occupational therapists practicing within the public and the private
sectors in South African and the impact on practice when models are used.
The study sample for Phase 1 –the quantitative part consisted of 12 participants of
a possible 27, indicating a 44.4% response rate. Quantitative data was obtained from
this sample to obtain demographic information of the participants and to establish
their view on and use of models in practice as well as their initial impressions on the
During Phase 2 – the qualitative part of the study, data was obtained from seven of
the participants who participated in the quantitative part of the study, indicating a 58,
3% response rate. The main focus was on the participants’ perceptions on the
application of the Kawa Model. Information was obtained a month after initial use of
the Kawa Model and again after a period of approximately four months.
CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION
The factors that influence the selection and use of models were identified. Factors
that influenced the choice of models used can be grouped under: habituation versus
experience; experience and clinical reasoning; practice context and client
characteristics. The value participants placed on theory, their educational
backgrounds, exposure to information, experience in practice and ability to apply
clinical reasoning all impacted on who they were and influenced which models they
chose to use in their clinical practice. The influencing factor, pertaining to the practice
context having and influence on model use were identified as having limited time for
intervention, lack of opportunities and working within a specific sector context. Two
overall influencing factor were identified as; the participants ability to be “open
minded” about the application of current and new theory and the influence of
practicing in a habituated manner, relying on theory taught rather than expanding on
the use of models. These influencing factors pertained to the reasons for choice and
use of models.
The impact of model use clinically was discussed. The use of models provides
structure, and it assists occupational therapists’ to do proper, profession specific,
scientifically based intervention.
The initial impressions of participants on the Kawa Model were that it is interesting
and unusual. Participants reported contradictory views, but the majority felt positive
regarding the Kawa Model’s possible application clinically, after rating their
knowledge on the model as average. The factors that influenced the use of the Kawa
Model were identified. These factors were grouped under: habituation versus
experience; experience and clinical reasoning; practice context; client characteristics
and Kawa Model characteristics. The experience and clinical reasoning ability of the
participants had the greatest influence on the effective application of the Kawa Model.
This was dependent on the specific way in which they chose to present the model
and interpret the findings with the clients as well as their previous exposure to similar
The practice context, specifically the public sector where the bio-medical approached
are being used due to the acute nature of clients treated within this sector, were
identified as being less suited to the application of the Kawa Model. The client’s ability
to understand, relate to and reflect on the Kawa Model, their educational
background, presenting diagnosis, phase of illness and their cognitive ability all
influenced their suitability in terms of the use of the Kawa Model in their therapy.
Aspects pertaining to the Kawa Model itself were grouped under facilitators and
barriers to use. The facilitators were identified as the client centred nature of the
Kawa Model, its ability to provide “new/different” information and its non-prescriptive
application. Barriers identified were the abstract nature and cognitive demands of the
Kawa Model as well as its non-prescriptive application that was seen as a facilitator
by experienced participants and a barrier, by inexperienced participants.
Factors that influenced the continued use of the Kawa Model were related to
participants experience and to them have having support and being able to discuss
the application of the model with others. The influence of the habituated way of
choosing and using models had an influence on the model’s continued use with
inexperienced participants but experienced participants were able to adapt the model
and use it in combination with other models. Due to the Kawa Model being more
successfully applied by experienced therapists its inclusion in postgraduate training
curricula will result in a greater chance that it will be used beneficially by clinicians in
No cultural aspects in relation to model use or the Kawa Model in particular where
evident in this study with other factors having a greater influence on the choice and
successful application of models in clinical practice being evident from the results.
– Knowledge of and application of models are important for the profession of
occupational therapy and should therefore be taught at universities and applied
by practicing therapists.
– Educators must ensure that they have adequate knowledge of current models
and areas of occupational therapy practice to ensure that models taught are
relevant and applicable, seeing that students rely mainly on these taught
models once they are qualified therapists.
– The Kawa Model is relevant to apply in a South African context within a
rehabilitative setting, with a client in the rehabilitative phase by experienced
– The Kawa Model must be introduced to students at a postgraduate level to
ensure possible future use by clinicians in South Africa.
6.2 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Even though a case study design was used with a specific group of occupational
therapists the study was limited by the small number of participants from this group
who agreed to participate in Phase 1: quantitative phase. Although the therapists who
attended the Kawa Model workshop appear to value model use in their practice they
were unwilling to commit to being involved in research about this subject. The large
dropout rate in terms of return of the questionnaires means that the results of this
study are not generalizable to the occupational therapists who attended the Kawa
Model workshop or other occupational therapists practicing in Gauteng.
The short time given to participants to implement the Kawa Model in practice was
another limitation of the study determined by the time available to complete the
research for this study. The sample size for Phase 2: qualitative study, while large
enough to achieve trustworthiness in the study was dependent on the participants
within the case study group who were willing to take part in the clinical application of
the Kawa Model. This group may have had a positive bias towards the Kawa Model
initially as they were the therapists who agreed to use the model in their clinical
The specific group of therapists used to determine model use and the application of
the Kawa Model, was heterogeneous only in the service sectors in which they
worked, but this small sample did reflect the gender and educational background of
therapists working in Gauteng.
Culture and cultural competence in relation to model use in general and more
specifically in relation to the Kawa Model did not come up during interviews, even
though probing questions were asked. The reason for this can be attributed to the fact
that the sample was heterogeneous and culture did not present as being problematic
and all of the participants trained within a Western cultural context.
The researcher did have strong opinions about the Kawa Model prior to undertaking
this study due to her prior knowledge of the Kawa Model and personal interactions
with the author of this model. However, steps have been taken to minimize bias.
1. Kielhofner G. Challenges and directions for the future of occupational therapy. In: Kielhofner G, editor. 2002.
2. Kielhofner G. Conceptual foundations of occupational therapy. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis; 2009.
3. Iwama M. Towards Culturally relevant epistemologies in occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2003;57(5):582–8.
4. Yerza E, Clark F, Frank G, Jackson J, Parham D, Peirce D et al. An introduction to occupational science, a foundation for occupational therapy in the 21st century. Occupational Therapy in Health Care. 1989;6:1–15.
5. Dillard M, Andonian L, Flores O, Lai L, Macrae A, Shakir M. Culturally competent occupational therapy in a diversely populated mental health setting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1992;46(8):721–6.
6. MacDonald R, Rowe N. Minority ethnic groups and occupational therapy, part 2: Transcultural occupational therapy, a curriculum for today’s therapists. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1995;58(7):286–90.
7. Sumsion T. Client-Centered Practice in Occupational Therapy A guide to Implementation. United States of America: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2006.
8. Bennett S, Bennett JW. The process of evidence-based practice in occupational therapy: Informing clinical decisions. Australian Occupational therapy Journal. 2000;47:171–80.
9. National Society for the promotion of Occupational Therapy. Constitution. 1917;
10. Turpin M, Iwama MK. Using Occupational Therapy Models in Practice- A Field Guide. Toronto: Elsevier; 2011.
11. Reed KL, Sanderson SN. Concepts of Occupational Therapy. United States of America: Williams & Wilkins; 1992.
12. Reed KL. An annotated history of the concepts used in occupational therapy. In: Christiansen C, Bass-Haugen J, editors. Occupational therapy: Performance, participation and well-being. Thorofare, NJ.: Slack; 2005. p. 567–626.
13. Whiteford G, Fossey E. Occupation: The essential nexus between philosophy, theory and practice. Australian Occupational therapy Journal. 2002;49:1–2.
14. Kielhofner G. A model of human occupation: Theory and application. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1995.
15. Parson T. The structure of social action. New York & London: McGraw-Hill; 1937.
16. Parson T, Shils E. Towards a general theory of action. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1951.
17. Von Bertalanffy L. An outline of general systems theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 1950;1:134–64.
18. Iwama M. A social perspective on the construction of occupational therapy in Japan. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation, Kibi International University, Taskahashi. 2001;
19. Iwama M. The Kawa Model- Culturally Relevant Occupational Therapy. United States of America: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2006.
20. Reidpath D. Social determinants of health. In: Keleher H, Murphy B, editors. Understanding health: a determinants approach. Melbourne: Oxford University Press; 2004. p. 9–22.
21. Duncan EAS. Foundations for practice in Occupational Therapy. London: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2006.
22. Craig EJ. Philosophy and philosophies. Philosophy. 1983;55:189–201.
23. Baxter P, Jack S. Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers. The Qualitative Report. 2008;13(4):544–59.
24. Creswell JW. Qualitative inquiry and research design. Choosing among five traditions. California: Sage Publications;
25. Yin RK. Case study research: Design and method. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2003.
26. Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa. Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. 2005 Jul;Section A–Section E.
27. Davies S. Models and Theories. In: Reel K, Feaver S, editors. Rehabilitation the use of theories and models in practice. London: Elsevier; 2006.
28. Iwama MK. Meaning and inclusion: Revisiting culture in occupational therapy. Australian Occupational therapy Journal. 2004;51:1–2.
29. Wilcock A. The Doris Sym Memorial Lecture: Developing a philosophy of occupation for Health. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1999;62(5):192–8.
30. Ballinger C, Wiles R. A critical look at evidence-based practice. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2001;64(5):253–5.
31. Wilcock A. A theory of human need for occupation. Journal of Occupational Science. 1993;1(1):17–24.
32. Awaad T. Culture, Cultural Competence and Occupational therapy: a review of the Literature. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 2003;66(8):356–62.
33. Clark F. Reflections on the human as an occupational being: Biological needs, tempo and temporality. Journal of Occupational Science. 1997;4(3):86–92.
34. Reed KL, Sanderson SN. Concepts of occupational therapy. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1999.
35. Nelson DL. Occupation: Form and performance. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1988;42(10):633–41.
36. Gilfoyle EM, Grady AP, Moore JC. Children adapt. Thorofare, NJ.: Slack; 1981.
37. Baum C, Cristiansen C. The occupational therapy context: Philosophy- principles-practice. In: Christiansen C, Baum C, editors. Occupational therapy: Enabling function and well-being. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Thorofare,; 1997. p. 26– 45.
38. Goldberg B, Britnell E, Goldberg J. The relationship between engagement in meaningful activities and quality of life in persons disabled by mental illness. Occupational therapy Mental Health. 2002;18:17–44.
39. Evans J, Salim AA. A cross-cultural test of the validity of occupational therapy assessment with schizophrenia,. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1992;46(9):685–95.
40. Kinebanian A, Stomph M. Cross-cultural occupational therapy: a critical reflection. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1992;46(8):751–7.
41. Finlay L. The practice of psychosocial occupational therapy. Chelrenham: Stanley Thornes; 1997.
42. Krefting LH, Krefting DV. Cultural influences on performance. In: Christiansen C, Baum C eds, editors. Occupational therapy: overcoming human performance deficits. Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 1991. p. 101–22.
43. Powers Versluys H. Evaluation of emotional adjustment to disability. In: Trombly CA ed, editor. Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; 1997. p. 225–34.
44. Marriott A. Using the core values and skills of occupational therapy in management. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1997;60(4):169–73.
45. Creek J ed. Occupational therapy and mental health. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2000.
46. Wells S, Black R. Cultural competency for health professionals. In: Wells S, Black R, editors. 2000.
47. Busuttil J. Setting up an occupational therapy college in the Middle East, part 2. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1993;57(4):124–6.
48. Mumford D. Transcultural aspects of rehabilitation. In: Hume C, Pullen eds, editors. Rehabilitation for mental health problems: an introductory handbook. London: Churchill Livingstone; 1994. p. 145–57.
49. Jang Y. Chinese culture and occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1995;58(3):103–8.
50. Gujral S. Working in transcultural context. In: Creek J ed, editor. Occupational therapy and mental health. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2000.
51. Fortune T. Occupational Therapists: is our Therapy truly Occupational or are we merely Filling Gaps. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2000 May;63(5):225–30.
52. Townsend E, Wilcock A. Occupational justice and client-centered practice: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2004;71(2):75–87.
53. Yerxa EJ. Authentic occupational therapy. In: Padilla R (Ed), editor. A professional legacy: The Eleanor Clarke Slagle lectures in occupational therapy, 1955-2004. Bethesda: AOTA Press.; 1967. p. 127–40.
54. King LJ. Towards a science of adaptive responses. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1978;32:429–37.
55. World Health Organization. International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF). 2001.
56. Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists publications A, editor. Enabling occupation: An occupational therapy perspective. Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists publications, ACE.; 1997.
57. American Occupational Therapy Accosiation. Occupational therapy practice framework:Domain and process (2nd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2008;62(6):625–83.
58. Reilly M. Occupational therapy can be one of the great ideas of the 20th century medicine. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1962;16:1–9.
59. Weimer RB. Some concepts of prevention as an aspect of community health. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1972;26:1–9.
60. Creek J. Occupational therapy defined as a complex intervention. London: College of Occupational Therapists; 2003.
61. Duncan M. Our bit in the calabash: Thoughts on occupational therapy transformation in South Africa. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1999;29(2):3–9.
62. Fawcett J. Conceptual models of nursing: international in scope and substance? The case of Roy Adaptation Model. Nursing Science Quartely. 2003;16:315–8.
63. Nelson DL, Jepson-Thomas J. Occupational Form, Occupational performance, and a conceptual framework for therapeutic Occupation. In: Kramer P, Hinojosa J, Royeen CB, editors. Perspectives in Occupation-Participation in Life. United States of America: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003. p. 85–155.
64. Carmondy S, Nolan R, Ni Chochuir N, Curry M, Halligan C, Robinson K. The guiding nature of the kawa (river) model in Ireland: creating both opportunities and challenges for occupational therapists. Occupational Therapy International. 2007;14(4):221–36.
65. Van Der Reyden D, editor. The South African Model of Creative Participation. Vona and Marie Du Toit Foundation; 2009.
66. Ikiugu MN. Instrumentalism in occupational therapy: An Argument for a pragmatic conceptual model of practice. The International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. 2004;(8):109–17.
67. Kielhofner G. Conceptual foundations of occupational therapy. Philidelphia: F.A.Davies Company; 1997.
68. Unsworth C. The Clinical Reasoning of Novice and Expert Occupational Therapists. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2001;8(2):163–73.
69. Du Toit V. Patient volition and action in occupational therapy. South Africa: Vona and Marie Du Toit Foundation; 2009.
70. The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability Foundation UK [Internet]. Available from: http://www.vdtmocaf-uk.com/
71. Casteleijn D. Thenuse of core concepts and terminology in South Africa. World Federation of Occupational Therapy Bulletin. 2012;65:20–7.
72. Kelly L. What occupational therapist can learn from traditional healers. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1995;58(3):111–4.
73. Norman G, Young M, Brooks L. Non-analytical models of clinical reasoning: the role of experience. Medical Education. 2007;41(12):1140–5.
74. Salminen A, Harra T, Lautamo T. Conducting case study research in Occupational therapy. Australian Occupational therapy Journal. 2006;53:3–8.
75. Thomas S, Wearing A, Bennett M. Clinical decision making for nurses and health Professionals. Sydney: Hartcourt, Brace and Jovanovick; 1991.
76. Rao V. Interview for development gateway. Preview of “culture and public action.”2004;
77. Padilla RL, Byers-Connon S, Lohman HL. Occupational therapy with elders: strategies for the COTA. Occupational Therapy Practice Models. Maryland Heighs: Elsevier Mosby;
78. Ikiugu MN, Smallfield S, Condit C. A framework for combining theoretical conceptual practice models in occupational therapy practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2009 Jun;3(76):162–70.
79. Blaga L, Robertson L. The nature of occupational therapy practice in acute physical care settings. New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapt. 2008;
80. Kielhofner G. Research in Occupational therapy: Method of inquiry for enhancing practice. Philadelphia, USA: F.A. Davies; 2006.
81. Wood P. Qualitative Research. 2006.
82. Patton MQ. Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications; 2002.
83. Merriam SB. Qualitative research and case study application in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers; 1998.
84. Reid AOJ. Computer Management Strategies for Text Data. In: Crabtree BF, Miller WL (eds )., editors. Doing Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications; 1992.
85. Zenobia CY, Yuen-ling F, Wai-tong C. Bracketing in Phenomenology: Only Undertaken in the Data Collection and Analysis Process? The Qualitative Report. 2013;18(59):1–9.
86. Hsieh H, Shannon SE. Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research. 2005;15(9):1277–87.
87. Finlay L. The life world of the occupational therapist: Meaning and motive in an uncertain world. The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. 1998;
88. Storch BA, Eskow KG. Theory application by school-based occupational therapists. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1996;50(8):662–8.
89. Stake RE. Case Studies. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS (eds )., editors. Handbook of Qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications; 1994.
90. Yaghmaie F. Developing and validating a usability evaluation tools for distance education websites. California: Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications; 2003.
91. Law M, McColl MA. Knowledge and use of theory among occupational therapists: A Canadian survey. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1989;56(4):198–204.
92. Alvesson M, Sköldberg K. Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications; 2000.
93. Cohn HW. Heidegger and the roots of existential therapy. London: Continuum. 2002.
94. Primeau, L.A. Reflections on self in qualitative research: Stories of family. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2003;57:9–16.
95. Ahern KJ. Ten tips for reflexive bracketing. Qualitative Health Research. 1999;(9):407–11.
96. Mills J, Bonner A, Francis K. The development of constructivist grounded theory. International Journal of Qualitative Methods [Internet]. 2006;5(1). Available from: http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/5_1/html/mills.htm
97. Krefting, L. Rigor in qualitative research: The assessment of trustworthiness. Amrtican Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1991;45:214–22.
98. Lincoln YS, Guba EG. Naturalistic Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications; 1985.
99. Wada M. Strengthening the Kawa Model: Japanese perspectives on person, occupation and environment. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2011;78(4):230–6.
100. Lee SW, Taylor R, Kilehofner G, Fisher G. Theory Use in Practice: A National Survey of Therapists; Who Use the Model of Human Occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2008;62(1).
101. Crowe TK, Kenny EM. Occupational therapy practice in school systems: A survey of northwest therapists. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. 1990;10(3):69–83.
102. Bloom BS. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.; 1956.
103. Elliott SJ, Velde BP, Wittman PP. The use of Theory in everyday practice: An Explorative study. Occupational Therapy in Health Care. 2002;16(1):45–62.
104. Fleming MH. The therapist with the three-track mind. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 1991 Nov;54(11).
105. Rappolt S, Tassone M. How rehabilitation therapists gather and apply new knowledge. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 2002;22(3):170–80.
106. Boyt Schell BA, Schell JW. Clinical and Professional Reasening in Occupational Therapy. Baltimor, USA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkens; 2008.
107. Reed KL. Theory and frames of reference. In: Neistadt ME, Crepeau EB, editors. Willard & Spackman’s occupational therapy. Philadelphia: Lippincott; 1998. p. 521.
108. Mattingly C. A two-body practice: The lived body. In: Mattingly C, Fleming MH eds, editors. Clinical reasoning: Forms of inquiry in a therapeutic practice. Philidelphia: F.A. Davies; 1994. p. 64–93.
109. Richards T, Richards L. Using Computers in Qualitative Research. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS (eds )., editors. Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage; 1994.
110. McColl MA. What do we need to know to practice occupational therapy in the community? American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 52:11–8.
111. Wadee H, Gilson L, Thiede M, Okorafor O, Mclntyre D. Health care inequity in South Africa and the public/private mix. 2003.
APPENDIX A: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Where did you complete your initial Occupational Therapy training?
University of Pretoria
University of the Freestate
University of Cape Town
University of the Witwatesrand
University of Durban
University of Western Cape
University of Stellenboch
University of Limpopo
2. What year did you complete your undergraduate degree/diploma in
3. Have you completed any postgraduate qualification? Yes No
4. If yes please provide details.
5. How long have you been working within the field of chronic disability or illness?
6. Race: ______________
7. Age: ______________
8. Gender: ______________
1. Which occupational therapy models do you apply in practice as a clinician
Model of Human Occupation
Canadian Model of Performance
If Other, Please specify
2. In your opinion, how important is it to apply models of practice to guide your
intervention as an occupational therapist?
3. Why do you use this/these models?
4. Do you know of other occupational therapy models that you do not apply in
5. Why do you not apply these models in practice?
6. On a scale of 1-10, rate your current level of knowledge of the Kawa-Model
Not knowledgeable 1____2____3____4____5____6____7____8____9____10 Very
7. Describe your initial impression of the Kawa Model.
8. Do you think the Kawa Model can be applied in your practice?
Please justify your answer.
APPENDIX B: PHASE I INFORMATION SHEET AND INFORMED CONSENT
Dear Workshop Participant,
I am Antonette Owen, an occupational therapist completing my MSc OT at the
University of the Witwatersrand. I am completing a project on the Kawa Model, an
occupation based model designed by Dr Michael Iwama.
You are invited to participate in phase I of a research study looking at the current use
of models by occupational therapists. Your participation in the study is entirely
voluntary and non-participation will have no consequences for you .You may
discontinue your participation at any time without any consequences to yourself.
As occupational therapy clinicians I am asking that you complete the attached
questionnaire to identify which models of practice you currently apply, your view on
the use of practice models in occupational therapy and to obtain your current views
on the Kawa model. It will take approximately fifteen minutes to complete this two
page questionnaire. By completing the questionnaire, you are providing consent for
the information to be used.
Your participation in this phase of my research project will be much appreciated.
Participation in phase one does not imply your participation in phase two. You will be
approached on a separate occasion to participate in phase two of my research
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You may also contact the
secretary of the Wits Ethics Committee, Anisa Keshav at 0117171234 if you have any
concerns about the ethics of the study.
Antonette Owen Phone (011) 643-5769
Cell 082 9688 984
I ____________________ have read the above and hereby give written consent to take
part in phase I of this study.
Participant: __________________ Date: _______________
Researcher: __________________ Date: ______________
Witness: __________________ Date: _______________
APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW GUIDE- SECTION A
Interview at one month after initial application of model
INTERVIEW GUIDE. PHASE II (section A)
Interview at one month after initial application of model
1. How receptive was your client/s to the application of the Kawa model? 2. In your opinion, does the Kawa model add to meaningful occupational therapy
intervention? 3. Give a reason for your answer to the above question. 4. Did you adjust your initial treatment plan that was based on traditional models
after application of the Kawa model? 5. Describe the models strengths 6. Describe the model’s weaknesses 7. Does application of the Kawa model enable occupation focused intervention
more so than your traditional models used? 8. Does the application of the Kawa model enable client centred intervention more
so than your traditional models used? 9. Did you use the Kawa model to guide your intervention throughout the treatment
process, or only at the onset of treatment? 10. What barriers to implementation of the Kawa model did you experience?
Trigger Questions 1. Why do you think this was the case? 2. What do you perceive to be meaningful occupational therapy intervention? 3. Can you elaborate on that? 4. If yes, in what way did your treatment plan change? 5. Can you elaborate on that? 6. Can you elaborate on that? 7. Can you elaborate on your answer? 8. Can you elaborate on your answers? 9. Can you elaborate on your answer? 10. Cab you elaborate on your answer?
APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW GUIDE – SECTION B
Interview at four months after initial application of the model
INTERVIEW GUIDE. PHASE II (section B)
Interview at four months after initial application of the model
1. Are you currently applying the Kawa model a part of your occupational therapy intervention?
2. Why did you continue/discontinue the use of the Kawa model after the one month research period?
3. What is your opinion of the Kawa Model in terms of the practice of occupational therapy in South Africa?
4. Are you planning to continue the application of the Kawa model within your current clinical setting?
5. What does this model offer you that is different from your traditional models used, if anything?
a. Trigger Questions 6. Why not? /How often do you apply the Kawa model? Types of clients that it
works well for? 7. Can you elaborate on your answer? 8. Can you elaborate on your answer? 9. Why? / Why not? 10. Can you elaborate on your answer?
APPENDIX E: SUPPORT OFFERED WHILE APPLYING KAWA MODEL IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
During this research period the participants were given the option to access added
support in the form of support groups led by an occupational therapy lecture, familiar
with the Kawa Model. However, none of the participants made use of this form of
support offered. Participants were further provided with details for an interactive website
where they could communicate with Doctor Iwama directly and with other participants
around the world who are currently applying the Kawa Model. This was for added
support during the research process. Again it was found that participants made use of
in-house support mainly, instead of accessing the interactive website. The website was
used merely to affirm their knowledge of the Kawa Model.
APPENDIX F: PHASE II INFORMATION SHEET AND INFORMED CONSENT
I am Antonette Owen, an occupational therapist completing my MSc OT at the University of the Witwatersrand. I am completing a project on the Kawa Model, an occupation based model designed by Dr Michael Iwama.
You are invited to participate in phase II of my research study looking at your experience in using the Kawa Model in your clinical practice, working within the field of chronic illness or disability. Your participation in the study is entirely voluntary and non- participation will have no consequences for you .You may discontinue your participation at any time without any consequences to yourself.
As an occupational therapy clinician I am asking that you commit yourself for five months to be involved in the study. In phase II of the study I am asking you to apply the Kawa Model in your clinical practice with five to ten clients from your case load who presents with a chronic illness or disability that you select, for a period of one month. These clients need to give consent for you to use the Kawa model as part of your participation in my research study. Identified clients will be provided with a separate written consent form to be completed prior to the clinical application of the model. Those involved in the research can ask relevant questions and seek clarity at any time during the research process from the researcher and regular contact will be made by the researcher to follow up on progress. The identity of participating clients will be protected at all times.
During this one month period of applying the model, you will have to take note of the following aspects:
Your traditional treatment plan versus any changes to the plan after implementation of the Kawa Model
Your continued reference to the Kawa Model throughout your intervention of the identified client
Factors influencing application of the Kawa Model, for example language barrier, diagnosis, etc.
Factors influencing the unsuccessful implementation of the model
During this time you will be invited to attend support groups at WITS that will be led by WITS lecturers who have knowledge regarding the Kawa model. You will also be provided with a website and login information where you can be in direct contact with Dr. Iwama and other OT’s around the world who participate in research on the model and who apply it clinically. This is in order to provide you with extra support through this process if required. Your attendance at these support groups and access to the website will be monitored in order to establish the level of support you require and the usefulness of such support.
After this one month period of applying the Kawa model, you will need to participate in a recorded interview that will be conducted by the researcher at your place of work to identify if the application of the Kawa model has altered your traditional treatment intervention, the models strengths and weaknesses, etc. This interview will take approximately one hour.
Four months after the initial interview a second and final recorded interview that will be conducted by the researcher at your place of work to identify if you continued to apply the Kawa model after the one month period and to obtain your opinion on the models use within the South African context. This interview will take approximately forty five minutes.
Please note that all tape recordings will be deleted on completion of the study. Your participation in this research project will be much appreciated.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You may also contact the secretary of the Wits Ethics Committee, Anisa Keshav at 0117171234 if you have any concerns about the ethics of the study.
Antonette Owen Phone (011) 643-5769
Cell 082 9688 984
I ____________________ have read the above and hereby give written consent to take
part in phase II of this study.
Participant: __________________ Date: _______________
Researcher: __________________ Date: ______________
Witness: __________________ Date: _______________
INFORMED CONSENT TO BE AUDIOTAPED
I ____________________ have read the above and hereby give written consent to be
audiotaped during the interviews in phase II of this study.
Participant: __________________ Date: _______________
Researcher: __________________ Date: ______________
Witness: __________________ Date: _______________
APPENDIX G: ETHICAL CLEARANCE
APPENDIX H: SAMPLE OF A VERBATIM TRANSCRIBED INTERVIEW
Verbatim transcription –Phase II (section B) Participant F
R: Are you currently applying the Kawa model as part of your intervention?
P: I can’t lie and say that it is a regular thing, I have to think about it in order to do it, like I will
consciously make a decision to try the Kawa model again on new people… so it is not like a it is
integrated into practice now.
R: How often would you say you apply it more or less?
P: I properly have done it with one group of patients since we last spoke, so in that whole time.
R: Okay, what type of a group was it, what type of clients?
P: Out patients… it is my HIV group, so they all have been diagnosed with HIV recently and
have had a psychiatric disorder, resulting from the HIV?
R: Would it be sort of a dementia type picture?
P: Some of them have got minor cognitive motor disorder, some of them have got the HAD, but
one of them couldn’t actually participate, she wasn’t really with me, so I left it, I can say that all
the dementia ones did it.
R: Would you consider using it again on that type of group in future?
P: Definitely, I have learned who it applies to better and who I wouldn’t use it with, but there are
some that I would definitely use it with.
R: What factors would impact on your decision to either continue using it or stop using it?
P: Their level of function.
R: So who does it work for do you think?
P: The higher level, patients who have got some sort of insight into their problems and their
goals and like even, it does work if they don’t have abstract thinking because like one of the
patients, she is very concrete and she is a lower functioning patient and she actually, she didn’t
use a river, but she told me a whole story about rain came, and the river came and made the
river flow to give life to this part and it was actually quit abstract, but I had to interpret the
abstract stuff. Hers was just like the rain came and then it made a river and then the river came
and then there was this person here at the end of the river. I don’t know if she thought of it in
that abstract way or if I’m just interpreting it in that abstract way, but like I could follow her story
abstractly, you know what I mean? So it is not that it doesn’t work for those people but I think
the , I got more out of it may be with her and then I don’t know if it was right to get that out of it,
but the ones that are higher functioning, they get more out of it than the lower functioning ones.
R: Okay. The Factors that impact on you, not having use it that much, what could that have
P: It doesn’t tell me anything that I didn’t know. I think also that we, like it would be nice to add
this into our treatment, but we are trying to get a level of function and not really address the
patients problems, like their social and all those kind of problems, so I think the reason that we
do it most with our out patients is because those are the ones that we do like give some kind of
treatment for. The others ones it’s really like, assess your level of function, do what you can, like
teach them some stuff and all of that then discharge them to the clinic. So it’s the setting that is
very much so limiting.
R: Ja. Do you feel knowledgeable enough and confident enough to continue to use this model in
P: I think so, because I think it is so broad like I don’t feel like there are any concepts in the
model that I don’t understand, but I think that… ja…
R: Do you think a two day workshop was enough to introduce a new model like this, or do you
think that there should have been something more practical aspects to it, what do you think?
P: You know, like I don’t know if this is gonna help, because it was the POTS meeting, but it
really helped to talk to other people who have been using it. We actually realized that we were
not giving enough instructions and so that’s way sometimes we didn’t get enough out of it, and
after listening to other people and seeing what they were saying and how they would implement
it, it changed for us. I think having spoken to other people that have been using it was really the
most beneficial thing. Learning about it or whatever, that was one thing and then you can
implement it, but then talking to people who had actually done it really helped.
R: So subsequent to the DVD’s you had, the workshop and all that, did you have any other…
you were saying you were at the POTS group and there you had another introduction to it. Did
you have any other information on the model during this time or not?
P: I looked it up on the internet; I went to that internet site and looked at his example, which also
helped. I don’t know if it is part of this question, but what we are going to try to do it to make the
pieces of the river. So we are going to make rocks and logs and all of those things because our
patients also don’t want to do it because they tell me they can’t draw a river, they don’t know
how, so for the one group of patients I actually gave them a cross section of the thing and
showed them the pieces, but I think what might further help and like, like stop their thoughts of
limitations of the model is to give them the pieces, so we are gonna make different size rocks
and different size all those things. That might make it a little bit easier for them to do.
R: Because it is almost as if they have performance anxiety about having to draw, they think
well I’m not creative, I’m not artistic I can’t do it.
P: Especially the one lady that I did this with, one of my HIV ladies, she was very depressed.
She had like, no self-esteem it’s not even low. It took so much encouragement for her to just
draw the river, never mind what she actually found from the river. So we think that participation
in it might help if we have like a little thing ready for them and then let them do that, the river.
R: What you almost doing is you bring creative ability into it.
P: I didn’t think of that…
R: You are, by saying that they can’t deal with initiating this task on their own and bringing in all
this, I need to break the task down so ja… and I think and in that way the model can be adapted
very nicely to your lower functioning clients who’s not at the level of creative ability where they
can go and draw this thing…
P: and to them it really matters what their river looks like.
R: Ja, because they have this thing that the end product needs to be quite good.
P: That’s what I noticed with the higher functioning patients, they don’t really care if they got
colours and stuff like that. They just really want to show you that it is symbolic, this is a rock, it
doesn’t matter if it is a circle or an actual rock. The other patients spend a lot of time to figure
out how you get that log to look like a log.
R: Because they are very much aware of norm compliance. It has to be okay in terms…
P: …and part of the activity and not the end way.
R: Very good, that is a very interesting way of looking at it. I was thinking of how the therapist
really has to adapt the model and work with it, so it works for her particular client group. So, one
other thing that you mentioned was that the support group type of thing really helped. Now when
we embarked on this research long ago, I had the setup where people could come to support
groups if they wish to do so. At that time I didn’t really had people expressing the need. Why do
you think the need arises now only and not in those initial phases?
P: What do you mean the need for…?
R: The need for support groups. When we had the first month of exploring the Kawa model,
there was an invitation to people to say that if you want to come to a group on the kawa model,
please come a long and chat to people, but there were very little interest at that point. People
were saying, we’re busy, we’re trying it out. Do you think one has to engage with it on your own
first and then maybe in a group?
P: … in order to see what you struggling with and what you have questions about because if I
haven’t actually done it with a patient, I didn’t really, like I mean you think it’s just draw a river,
like how hard can it be, but when you actually do it, then you realize like I wonder what other
people do if this happens or you know.
R: So you think a support group would have been much more beneficial at the later stages than
R: Okay, it makes sense. In your opinion then, what needs to happen to this Kawa model in
occupational therapy in South Africa?
P: Well I think, I definitely think that it should be like also from the POTS meeting, you were
saying maybe it’s going to be introduced at a post grad. Level, but I think that is should be
introduced at least, to an, like when you are at an undergrad. Level, because I think that it has a
role in the client centeredness and all that kind of stuff. Like, I would use it to enhance my
assessment. I’m not sure if it would be for treatment or anything like that, but if you have a
patient and you just want to check were I’m I going with this patient, am I on the same page as
the patient, like that I think it would enhance your assessment… so ja, I really think that it should
R: So you think it can be used, but who do you think then would use it mainly in the clinical
P: Psychiatric OT’s…
P: I found that internet example that he gave, I think it was an arthritis one, I think the findings
that he had were really interesting, but I don’t think they (Physical OT’s) would like to use it, I
R: Why do you think that is?
P: First of all I think it is very like, abstract and I think they are concrete and I think they don’t
really assess that…, especially in our setting, I can really speak for everyone else, but I know
that like having worked in those things here, you don’t have time to worry about the other
issues, you try to treat the problem that they are here for, and whether that is their biggest
problem or not, you have to treat it, because it is a big problem.
R: So now I’m just going to through a question at you Janine, what do you think then of OT’s
saying that we are client centred and holistic?
P: I have no idea… (Laughter) I mean look, if you look at the hand therapy unit…, If a patient
comes in there and they had their finger bitten off because they were in a fight, like you are
going to treat their finger and not the reasons for having been in a fight or their anger
management, even though you should because those are problems, but the presenting problem
for you is the finger, so I mean we can say that we are holistic all we want. Here we don’t treat
the biggest problem… we treat insight to make sure they take their medication, so that they
won’t come back, so even though there can be ten million other things effecting their insight, like
you only have two days so you have to treat the most pressing thing.
R: Ja, and that is the reality of it …
P: Ja, it would be nice to do it in another way, it would be nice if that old patient s would come
back for outpatient therapy or if there was somewhere we could refer them, so we can start to
address the things here and then continue and then get to the insight once all the other things
R: So would you say then that our systems in South Africa impacts on our ability to treat and
fully apply models?
P: Ja, definitely in the public sector. I think it is different in private, but here we are very limited in
what we can actually do for our patients. Like always, even with students we would say it is nice
to do that and you should do that, but right now we must do this.
R: So the time factor and the length of admission play a big role.
R: Do you think the Kawa Model is a relevant model for the South African population?
P: I think so, I mean it is a basic concept to understand, like it is not like something that no one
would have ever seen a river and know what is looks like and I think like when you explain to
them like you have these rocks and it stops the water of flowing through, so what are the things
that are stopping the water, they can kind of picture that in their mind, you know like what rocks
should looks like in a river, so I think like being able to compare that like as an object or
whatever is cultural because everybody can relate to a river, but… ja.
R: Do you think the Kawa model offers anything more or different than your traditional models
that you use presently.
P: Hmm…, I think that it gives them (clients) more of an opportunity to be involved, like if you
look at the creative ability and all of that, that’s me evaluating them, and if you look at the kawa
model, they have to tell you what the problems are, so like the finger, I can have a look at
patient and say that your finger is a big problem, the range of motion or whatever, but he can
them tell me something else and those models don’t always allows for that like, unless you
physically allows for that thing. I think that is the biggest thing for me.
R: have you seen examples of that where you have treated a patient and you had a very good
idea of where you were going with them, using your models, the traditional ones, and then you
applied the Kawa model and then all of a sudden you think, oh my, I didn’t realized that.
P: That lady from the HIV group. She had like a terrible social thing, like she was raped and
then she had the child and all of that kind of stuff. So we were treating more independence
because now she’s got this child and she, at the time she was training to be a cook or
something like that, so she has now joined the income generating support group. So we were
like looking at independence and trying to like she was really doing so well with it, she was
doing it on her own and teaching other patients and self-esteem and all of that kind of stuff.
Then we introduced the Kawa model, she actually cried after we did it because she realized that
all her rocks had to do with her relationships, and that she still hadn’t worked through those
relationships, so I referred her to a psychologist and now she is going for regular psychology. I
would never have known that, if I did not do that because that is not something we talk about in
OT. OT is like what do you do and how, you know, it is about function and stuff. That was
actually what was so huge for her.
R: Yes, so you might pick up things that you need to refer. It is not necessarily that you will be
able to treat everything in that river and that you have to maybe refer, but you know that. Why
do you think, that she was able to, that that came out in a drawing and through all the time that
you have been treating her it didn’t came out anywhere else?
P: I think like it is not really, there is no opportunity for it to come out. We talk about, when she
comes to OT, we talk about income generating things and how, those kinds of things we talk
about, how the HIV has affected things and whatever. We don’t really ever, I mean it is not like a
supportive therapy kind of thing where we get to share feelings and stuff like that. So she
obviously didn’t feel like that was the place for her to be able to say, look I’m really struggling
because I feel sad about my relationships. That is not what we have ever dealt with as a topic or
anything like that in like what we have spoken about.
R: But when she had the opportunity that was what she wanted to tell, bring across…
P: Like for her those are obviously huge problems, I mean not to say that the other things aren’t
problems, so we are addressing all the little problems but the three biggest rocks, it was like, I
wish I could have brought it to show you, but it was like three big rocks like that and then all the
little rocks at the bottom where like to HIV diagnosis, no money, all the types of things we were
treating. But it was like the father of my children raped me, that was the biggest thing. It has
been a while; it is not as if it is a recent thing or whatever…
R: But it is still, she never came to terms with it…
P: She said that she never dealt with it. She went to psychology at the time and she terminated
the therapy, but she obviously realized that it is still an issue for her.
R: And if you think of life flow and energy, the things that we should enable, without moving
those three big obstacles, we are not really going to get there.
P: and I know that you said, when they do the model, they must interpret it, we can’t look at it
and say look you got that, that and that. She had no water in her river, so I asked her why do
you have no water in your river and she was like, no there is but it was like she didn’t draw it in
and it was like an afterthought when I said, why is there no water in your river she was like no
there is… So I don’t know how much you can interpret from that…
R: Ja, but it is important to bring it to their attention and then to except their answer and not to
say, oh but I think differently. We are very quick to interpret and it’s to allow for the client’s
interpretation to happen as they give it to you and then not to take it a step further as we always
want to do. So would you then continue to use it in the future, especially with your HIV group?
P: Ja, properly not so often as I would have if I was in a different setting, but it is not that I think
it is useless and that there is no place for it. There is but maybe just not as often.
R: If there was in future, I’m not sure if it’s gonna happen, but if there was a Kawa support group
for Psyc. OT’s to attend; do you think it is something you would attend?
P: Maybe, I think I would like to know how other people are using it, like talking about it in the
POTS meeting, I thought I would actually try it with the rest of the HIV patients, or so you know.
It might motivate you to use it in a different way, and maybe there is a way to use it there but we
just don’t know.
R: I think the way you talk about adapting the model; I think that is a very good starting point,
doing it alongside creative ability. Thank you very much, that was all the questions I had for you.
APPENDIX I: SAMPLE OF A TRANSCRIPT SUMMARY
Phase II (section B) Participant F
Kawa model is not integrated into practice and therapists have to make a conscious effort to
apply it on patients. The Kawa model was used once with an out-patient HIV group since
therapist’s last contact with researcher. These patients presented with cognitive motor
disorders, HAD and dementia symptoms. One patient was unable to participate due to the
cognitive demands of the activity. The therapist will apply the Kawa model again in the future
with this type of patient group. It is generally the higher functioning patients that benefit the most
from the Kawa model. Some lower functioning patients can also benefit, but it needs to be
facilitated more by the therapist. The Kawa model was not applied in practice with in patients
because the therapist doesn’t have time to address all the patients’ problems and have to focus
purely on functional aspects. “I think also that we, like it would be nice to add this into our
treatment, but we are trying to get a level of function and not really address the patients
problems, like their social and all those kind of problems, so I think the reason that we do it most
with our out patients is because those are the ones that we do like give some kind of treatment
for. The others ones it’s really like, assess your level of function, do what you can, like teach
them some stuff and all of that then discharge them to the clinic. So it’s the setting that is very
much so limiting.” (37-42) The therapist feels confident and knowledgeable enough to apply the
Kawa model, but feels that discussing it with other occupational therapists in practice, and to
share experiences is most beneficial when learning about a new model. “…, but it really helped
to talk to other people who have been using it. We actually realized that we were not giving
enough instructions and so that’s way sometimes we didn’t get enough out of it, and after
listening to other people and seeing what they were saying and how they would implement it, it
changed for us. I think having spoken to other people that have been using it was really the
most beneficial thing. Learning about it or whatever, that was one thing and then you can
implement it, but then talking to people who had actually done it really helped.” (49-55) The
therapists is thinking of creative ways on how to adapt the Kawa model to enable more patients
to benefit from it.”… , but what we are going to try to do it to make the pieces of the river. So we
are going to make rocks and logs and all of those things because our patients also don’t want to
do it because they tell me they can’t draw a river, they don’t know how, so for the one group of
patients I actually gave them a cross section of the thing and showed them the pieces, but I
think what might further help and like, like stop their thoughts of limitations of the model is to
give them the pieces, so we are gonna make different size rocks and different size all those
things. That might make it a little bit easier for them to do.” (60-66) The therapist’s apply existing
knowledge in order to adapt the model, in this case the model of creative ability is applied in
order to adapt the Kawa model. The therapist feels that she is more able to benefit from
engaging in a support group on the Kawa model, now that she have some experience of
applying it clinically. “ … in order to see what you struggling with and what you have questions
about because if I haven’t actually done it with a patient, I didn’t really, like I mean you think it’s
just draw a river, like how hard can it be, but when you actually do it, then you realize like I
wonder what other people do if this happens or you know.” (98-101) The therapist’s feels that
the Kawa model should be introduced at an undergrad level as a tool to enhance assessment
and client centred focus.” I think that is should be introduced at least, to an, like when you are at
an undergrad. Level, because I think that it has a role in the client centeredness and all that kind
of stuff. Like, I would use it to enhance my assessment.” (107-109) The Kawa model will be
applied mainly by psychiatric occupational therapists for the physical therapists don’t have time
to focus on all the problems highlighted, but rather has to address the presenting physical
problem. “…you don’t have time to worry about the other issues, you try to treat the problem
that they are here for, and whether that is their biggest problem or not, you have to treat it,
because it is a big problem.” (121-123) Occupational therapists’ ability to treat clients holistically
is, limited by the setting they work in.”…so I mean we can say that we are holistic all we want.
Here we don’t treat the biggest problem… we treat insight to make sure they take their
medication, so that they won’t come back, so even though there can be ten million other things
effecting their insight, like you only have two days so you have to treat the most pressing thing.”
(129-133) Therapists’ ability to apply models fully is limited, especially in the public sector due to
time constraints. “Ja, definitely in the public sector. I think it is different in private, but here we
are very limited in what we can actually do for our patients. Like always, even with students we
would say it is nice to do that and you should do that, but right now we must do this.”(140-142)
The South African population can relate to the Kawa model for they can relate to the image of a
river. The Kawa model provides the client with an opportunity to be more involved in their
treatment. The Kawa model can highlight some hidden difficulties that need to be addressed.
“Then we introduced the Kawa model, she actually cried after we did it because she realized
that all her rocks had to do with her relationships, and that she still hadn’t worked through those
relationships, so I referred her to a psychologist and now she is going for regular psychology. I
would never have known that, if I did not do that because that is not something we talk about in
OT. OT is like what do you do and how, you know, it is about function and stuff. That was
actually what was so huge for her. “(168-173)” Like for her those are obviously huge problems, I
mean not to say that the other things aren’t problems, so we are addressing all the little
problems but the three biggest rocks, it was like, I wish I could have brought it to show you, but
it was like three big rocks like that and then all the little rocks at the bottom where like to HIV
diagnosis, no money, all the types of things we were treating. But it was like the father of my
children raped me, that was the biggest thing. It has been a while; it is not as if it is a recent
thing or whatever… “(187-192).The therapist would consider using the Kawa model again in the
future and feels that a support groups on the Kawa model can be beneficial.
1. The Kawa model is not integrated into daily practice.
2. The Kawa model was used within a group session with out-patients presenting with
cognitive difficulties resulting from HIV.
3. The Kawa model works better for cognitively higher functioning patients; however it can
be used with lower functioning patients, but requires more facilitation by the therapist.
4. Treatment of in-patients focus on functional problems mainly for there is no time to
address all their potential problems highlighted by the Kawa model. “I think also that we,
like it would be nice to add this into our treatment, but we are trying to get a level of
function and not really address the patients problems, like their social and all those kind
of problems, so I think the reason that we do it most with our out patients is because
those are the ones that we do like give some kind of treatment for. The others ones it’s
really like, assess your level of function, do what you can, like teach them some stuff and
all of that then discharge them to the clinic. So it’s the setting that is very much so
5. The therapist feels competent to apply the Kawa model.
6. Discussion with other therapists is most beneficial when learning about a new model.
“…, but it really helped to talk to other people who have been using it. We actually
realized that we were not giving enough instructions and so that’s way sometimes we
didn’t get enough out of it, and after listening to other people and seeing what they were
saying and how they would implement it, it changed for us. I think having spoken to other
people that have been using it was really the most beneficial thing. Learning about it or
whatever, that was one thing and then you can implement it, but then talking to people
who had actually done it really helped.” (49-55)
7. The therapist can adapt the model in creative ways, so more patients can benefit from it,
using her existing knowledge on creative ability.”…, but what we are going to try to do it
to make the pieces of the river. So we are going to make rocks and logs and all of those
things because our patients also don’t want to do it because they tell me they can’t draw
a river, they don’t know how, so for the one group of patients I actually gave them a
cross section of the thing and showed them the pieces, but I think what might further
help and like, like stop their thoughts of limitations of the model is to give them the
pieces, so we are gonna make different size rocks and different size all those things.
That might make it a little bit easier for them to do.” (60-66)
8. A support/discussion group on the Kawa model would be more beneficial once the
therapist had some time to apply it clinically. “… in order to see what you struggling with
and what you have questions about because if I haven’t actually done it with a patient, I
didn’t really, like I mean you think it’s just draw a river, like how hard can it be, but when
you actually do it, then you realize like I wonder what other people do if this happens or
you know.” (98-101)
9. The Kawa model should be introduced at an undergrad level as a tool to enhance
assessment and client centred focus.” I think that is should be introduced at least, to an,
like when you are at an undergrad. Level, because I think that it has a role in the client
centeredness and all that kind of stuff. Like I would use it to enhance my assessment.”
10. Psychiatric occupational therapists are more likely than physical therapists to apply the
Kawa model, for the physical therapists main focus is to address the presenting physical
deficit. “…you don’t have time to worry about the other issues, you try to treat the
problem that they are here for, and whether that is their biggest problem or not, you have
to treat it, because it is a big problem.” (121-123)
11. Occupational therapists’ ability to treat clients holistically are, limited by the setting they
work in. ” …so I mean we can say that we are holistic all we want. Here we don’t treat
the biggest problem… we treat insight to make sure they take their medication, so that
they won’t come back, so even though there can be ten million other things effecting
their insight, like you only have two days so you have to treat the most pressing thing.”
12. Therapists’ ability to apply models fully is limited, especially in the public sector due to
time constraints. “Ja, definitely in the public sector. I think it is different in private, but
here we are very limited in what we can actually do for our patients. Like always, even
with students we would say it is nice to do that and you should do that, but right now we
must do this.”(140-142)
13. SA population can relate to the metaphor used in the Kawa model.
14. The Kawa model provides an opportunity for patients to be more involved in their
15. The Kawa model can highlight some hidden difficulties that need to be addressed. “Then
we introduced the Kawa model, she actually cried after we did it because she realized
that all her rocks had to do with her relationships, and that she still hadn’t worked
through those relationships, so I referred her to a psychologist and now she is going for
regular psychology. I would never have known that, if I did not do that because that is
not something we talk about in OT. OT is like what do you do and how, you know, it is
about function and stuff. That was actually what was so huge for her. “(168-173)” Like for
her those are obviously huge problems, I mean not to say that the other things aren’t
problems, so we are addressing all the little problems but the three biggest rocks, it was
like, I wish I could have brought it to show you, but it was like three big rocks like that
and then all the little rocks at the bottom where like to HIV diagnosis, no money, all the
types of things we were treating. But it was like the father of my children raped me, that
was the biggest thing. It has been a while; it is not as if it is a recent thing or whatever…
16. The therapist’s would consider using the Kawa model again in the future.