Keeping it real: the use of authentic occupations within forensic occupational therapy

Mandy Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Research investigating the impact of the environment on occupational choice and experiences (Farnworth et al 2004; Stewart and Craik 2007) has highlighted the potential barriers to providing authentic and realistic occupations to individuals within secure care. This study investigated the experiences of three occupational therapists working within an NHS low secure forensic unit within Yorkshire, England. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was utilised in order to explore the nature and meaning of occupational therapists’ experiences, via semi-structured interviews, following approval from the South Yorkshire Research Ethics Committee (REC).
Following analysis of the data, four significant central themes were found – “It’s What it Says on the Box”; “The Locked Box”; “Thinking Outside the Box” and “Ticking the Right Boxes”. The study explored several different elements with participants including their understanding of the term authentic occupation; how they determined what is authentic for their service users; the usage of authentic occupations within treatment; and the barriers and supporting factors in the provision of authentic occupations within a secure setting. The use of authentic occupations has been described by some as an ethical obligation (Luebben 2003) and furthermore to be denied the opportunities to engage in occupations as cruel and unjust (Whiteford 2004). It is hoped that this research will stimulate further debate and discussion in order to campaign for occupational justice (COT 2006).
Original languageEnglish
Article number1.4
Pages (from-to)2
Number of pages1
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue numberS8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventRoyal College of Occupational Therapists 38th Annual Conference and Exhibition - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jun 20145 Jun 2014
Conference number: 38


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