#OTalk 17th January – Groups at the forefront of occupational therapy practice; myth or reality?

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of group work within occupational therapy and will be hosted by Elinor Jordan (@Elinor_OT).

Groups at the forefront of occupational therapy practice; myth or reality?

Literature suggests working within groups can provide emotional support, social skills, motivation, self-confidence and a sense of camaraderie (Yeates et al., 2015; Moyer, 2014).

Experience shows that providing an array of groups tailored around leisure based activities but with a focus upon physical, cognitive and psychosocial domains some barriers to engagement can be overcome alongside providing optimal opportunities for practice of newly learned skills. Experience has shown that a strong individual therapy programme must be complimented with an enriching group programme to promote and facilitate our rehabilitative ethos with the neuro rehabilitation setting that I work within, however does this also transpire into other occupational therapy settings?

Within the slow stream neuro rehabilitation setting that I work within since re visiting and developing the service we offer, our input now involves a strong group programme across the whole Unit providing clear and enhanced opportunities for achievement of personal therapeutic goals alongside social interaction and emotional wellbeing through a range of transdisciplinary groups.

This chat aims to explore varying viewpoints and experiences on integrating groups into a range of settings. Questions and discussion points include:

  1. Are there specific “traditional” groups that people focused upon or do individuals break down “traditional”?
  2. What have been the barriers to developing groups into practice?
  3. How beneficial have collaborative groups been and can we tap further into this avenue?
  4. Can groups provide opportunities to enhance patient contact time?
  5. How can groups be evaluated to demonstrate positive impact upon interventions?


Moyer, E. A., O’Brien, J. C., & Solomon, J. W. (2014). O ccupational therapy (OT) practitioners often work with adults in groups for a wide variety of purposes. Occupational Analysis and Group Process, 106.

Tomchek, S., Koenig, K. P., Arbesman, M., & Lieberman, D. (2017). Occupational Therapy Interventions for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy71(1), 7101395010p1-7101395010p3.

Whisner, S. M., Stelter, L. D., & Schultz, S. (2014). Influence of Three Interventions on Group Participation in an Acute Psychiatric Facility. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health30(1), 26-42.

Yeates, G., Murphy, M., Baldwin, J., Wilkes, J., & Mahadevan, M. (2015). A pilot study of a yoga group for survivors of acquired brain injury in a community setting. Clinical Psychology267, 46.


#OTalk Research – 10th January 2017

The first #OTalk of 2017 is an #OTalk Research Chat.  We hope you can join us on Tuesday 10th January between 8pm-9pm.

Hosted by: Dr. Mary Birken, Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Occupational Therapy, Plymouth University

Supported by:  Jenny Preston

“Occupational therapy practitioners enter the profession to help improve people’s lives, but how do we know that our treatments work?” – Lin, 2013.

To test if occupational therapy works we need to do research, ultimately randomised controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy.

The need to demonstrate robust evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness of occupational therapy in mental health has been identified by commissioners of services, occupational therapists and managers as highlighted by the review of the Recovering Ordinary Lives Strategy (Smyth, 2014).

Other areas of occupational therapy practice have carried out successful randomised controlled trials and as a result feature in NICE guidance in that practice area. As an OT researcher in mental health I would like to discuss with OTs how we -occupational therapists in mental health- can pool resources, knowledge and skills to carry out research and feature in NICE guidance in mental health?

Questions to be discussed during this OTalk Research session are:


  1. OTs, commissioners & managers identified the need to demonstrate cost & clinical effectiveness of OT in mental health- what next steps do we need to take to do this?


  1. Are there existing forums/networks that can help us to do this research?


  1. Is the concept of community of practice a useful one that could support this?


  1. Who else do we need to collaborate with to make this happen?


  1. Following on from the previous qs, what is the next step for us?



Lin, S.H. (2013) Special Issue on the Accelerating Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research (ACTOR) Conference. American journal of Occupational Therapy. 67 (3) 135-137.

Smyth G (2014) Recovering ordinary lives: the successes, challenges and future. OTNews 22(9) 22-23.

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

2,181,238 Impressions
593 Tweets
45 Participants
474 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk 13th December – Personality Disorder, not just mental health.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of Personality Disorder and will be hosted by Keir Harding (@Keirwales).

We all have personality traits that can cause problems for us or other people. When these traits are problematic, pervasive and persistent we could label these traits as a personality disorder. Personality Disorder is prevalent in around 5 to 13 per cent of the population (Coid et al 2006). In mental health this figure increases depending upon the specialist nature of the service with up to 30 per cent in primary care, up to 50 per cent in secondary care, up to 70 per cent in drug and alcohol and eating disorder services and up to 78 per cent in prison (Moran 2003) . In physical health there is a similar trend with, for example 30% in the field of chronic pain (Sansone & Sansone 2015) while “the presence of borderline personality disorder was significantly associated with arteriosclerosis or hypertension, hepatic disease, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease, arthritis… and ‘any assessed medical condition’” (El-Gabalawy R et al 2010)

My point is that if you are working with people, you are working with personality disorder. There is widespread acceptance that within the already stigmatised area of mental health, Personality Disorder comes with an extra level of negative attitudes towards those who experience it. No Longer A Diagnosis of Exclusion was published in 2003 to try to address this. Still A Diagnosis of Exclusion (2009) suggests that it didn’t. It’s true that services for people living with Personality Disorder have improved over the past years but anecdotally people still struggle to get help with their difficulties, there are large inequalities as to what is available in different areas and staff often feel very deskilled when working in this area.

The area of Personality Disorder can be hugely challenging to clinicians. This can be due to high levels of self harm and suicidality that we might feel responsible for. It can be due to people dropping out of treatment or not seeming to engage with what’s on offer. It could be due significant difficulties in the relationship between client and clinician. My preparation for these challenges in university was non existent. One of my first lessons in how to work with this client group was a staff nurse pointing out a service user and telling me “He’s a PD. There’s nothing we can do for him”.

This chat aims to explore OTs views on the experience of working with people with personality disorder. Some points to consider consider:

-What preparation/training have you had for working with Personality Disorder? Was it enough?

-What are the challenges you experience/anticipate when working with Personality Disorder?

-How do you understand/formulate the difficulties people with PD present with?

-How relevant is OT in the area of Personality Disorder? Can we make a difference?

-How do we look after ourselves and colleagues when working in this area?


El-Gabalawy R1, Katz LY, Sareen J (2010) Comorbidity and associated severity of borderline personality disorder and physical health conditions in a nationally representative sample. Psychosom Med. 2010 Sep;72(7):641-7. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181e10c7b. Epub 2010 May 27.

Kalira, V., Treisman, G.J. & Clark, M.R. (2013)Borderline Personality Disorder and Chronic Pain: A Practical Approach to Evaluation and Treatment Curr Pain Headache Rep (2013) 17: 350. doi:10.1007/s11916-013-0350-y

Sansone R, & Sansone L (2015) Borderline Personality in the Medical Setting Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2015 May 28;17(3). doi: 10.4088/PCC.14r01743. eCollection 2015.

Coid, J., Yang, M., Tyrer, P., Roberts, A. & Ullrich, S. (2006). Prevalence and correlates of personality disorder in Great Britain. British Journal of Psychiatry188 (5), 423–431.

Moran, P. (2003). The Epidemiology of Personality Disorders. http://www.dh.gov.uk (last accessed: 5.2.2016).

National Institute for Mental Health for England (2003). Personality Disorder: no Longer a Diagnosis of Exclusion. Policy Implementation Guidance for the Development of Services for People with Personality Disorder, Gateway Reference 1055. London: NIMH(E).

Raven C (2009) Borderline personality disorder: still a diagnosis of exclusion? Ment Health Today. 2009 Jun:26-31.



Transcript Here

The Numbers

1,602,594 Impressions
781 Tweets
62 Participants
625 Avg Tweets/Hour
13 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

#OTalk Research 6th December 2016 – In-depth Interviews

The chat will be hosted by OTalk research team member Lynne Goodacre  (@lynnegoodacre) supported by OTalk research team member Emma Hooper (@hooper_ek).

Conducting in-depth interviews is one of the most common approaches to data collection utilised by qualitative researchers. The underlying rationale for using this method is to explore in detail the experiences and perspectives of others, the meaning people attribute to their experiences and how people make sense of the world. This weeks OTalk will provide an opportunity to explore this method of data collection and share experiences and expertise.

Some points we will be exploring during the chat will be:

To get us started – what research context are you using or planning to use interviews in?

How do you decide what questions to ask to inform your interview schedule?

How do you decide who to include in your sample?

What practical factors need to be considered when planning to conduct interviews?

What ethical issues need to considered when undertaking interviews?

Whether you are in the process of planning your research, in the midst of collecting data or interested in understanding more about this method we have a lot to learn from each other. So I hope you will join in.



transcript here

The Numbers

1,065,126 Impressions
313 Tweets
41 Participants
13 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#Otalk 29th November 2016 -Role emerging Occupational Therapy.

This weeks #Otalk topic is ‘Role emerging OT, friend or foe?’.

Over recent years there has been an increase in Occupational Therapists working in broader roles such as team managers, honorary consultants, prescribers, discharge facilitators, case managers, care coordinators and within charities.

With OT having such a wide span of knowledge, training and experience it is a profession for the lifespan. This combined with it’s holistic approach means OT has plenty to offer so it is no surprise that OTs are now branching out from the traditional confines of acute and community care.

While these roles are a prime opportunity to show the world what we are capable of, are we doing our protected titles and the profession a disservice by taking on these generic roles?

Some points to consider:

What are the opportunities within these types of roles? Is this our chance to shine and show the true value of what we do and what OT has to offer?

What are the potential difficulties for OTs working in these settings? Lack of OT specific supervision? Could this lead to a loss of professional identity? Could there be a role conflict?

How can OT and occupation still be at the heart of our practice in role emerging and generic settings? Should we even be thinking and working occupationally if were not actually employed under the title of Occupational Therapist?

This chat will be hosted by #Otalk Team member Kirstie (@KLO2_KAY) and we hope to see lots of of you there!



The Numbers

1,837,404 Impressions
685 Tweets
67 Participants
548 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants




#OTalk 22nd November 2016 – Annual Conference, a time for change!

This weeks chat will be hosted by members of the COT conference programme committee, Ken Levins @LevinsKen, Alicia Ridout @AliciaRidout and Clare Taylor @ClareTaylorBUon the topic of “Annual Conference…time for a change”.

Here is their introductory blog post….

If you are familiar with the conference timetable, you will have noticed that the schedule for the COT 2017 conference call for papers has changed. In the past the deadline for the call for papers was September, however this has been pushed back to 20 January 2017.

There are two main reasons for doing this:

  1. There were a number of different deadlines for the call for papers, there was the main conference programme deadline, and then the emerging research and the student abstracts were manged differently. So we have decided to consolidate the dates and just have one call for papers deadline.
  2. The call for papers process has been streamlined; we have been able to tighten the process, and this means we will create a more up- to- date scientific programme for conference delegates to attend.

Submitting an abstract for Annual Conference is an excellent way to share your occupational therapy successes. It’s a great development opportunity as you can learn so much from the discussion that your abstract generates. Past presenters have found it an incredibly empowering process that builds their professional and personal confidence. They also enjoy the recognition and the kudos of making a valuable contribution to the development of the occupational therapy profession.

Abstracts are welcome from all areas of practice, and all types of work from authors at all stages of their careers. To make conference even more inclusive, five new submission categories have been introduced. This widens the scope for abstracts and will give potential authors a framework that will fit within their areas of work. The submission categories recognise the diverse approaches within the occupational therapy profession. They are:

Interactive journal club is focused on sharing a critical appraisal of published work

Occupation station is based upon practical demonstration of an occupation and reflection on its use as a therapeutic tool

Practice development focuses on clinical and management practice that has had a measurable impact

Critical discourse is opinion and discussion around theory aiming to challenge current thinking and introduce new perspective

Research is completed or ongoing research with data findings and analysis

Abstracts delivered by service users or written jointly with a service user will be particularly welcome. The service user’s perspective gives a 360° view of occupational therapy and this provides a far more enrichening insight for delegates. Service user presenters will be offered free one day registration to attend conference.

The hosts will be available to answer any questions on the call for papers process and the new submission categories. They will be able to demonstrate how the new conference call for papers will impact on the development of the conference programme and create a high quality CPD experience that celebrates the diversity of our wonderful profession.


Post Chat


The Numbers

1,436,747 Impressions
580 Tweets
49 Participants
464 Avg Tweets/Hour
12 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk 15th November 2016 – NHS Self Care Week

November 14-20 2016 is Self Care Week.


Further information from the NHS can be found here: Self Care Week 2016

This year’s theme is health literacy and the strapline is

Understanding Self Care for Life.

The campaign is designed to assist people in understanding what self-care for life means and the campaign provides information about knowing how to keep fit and healthy, how to deal with medicines appropriately, manage self-treatable conditions and when to seek appropriate clinical help. The campaign is also designed to raise awareness for those living with a long-term condition, explaining that self care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.

However, as an occupational therapists we often work with people to whom self care is something altogether different. With this in mind we would like take this weeks #OTalk as an opportunity not only to support the official campaign, so please do share what is happening in local area.

This year the Self Care project have launched an app to help students.



We will also be exploring the wider theme of self care and how we as occupational therapists and those that we work with define self care and how this translates to the everyday services that we provide.

We look forward to chatting further between 8-9pm Tuesday 15th November 2016.

Post Chat


The Numbers

1,517,583 Impressions
605 Tweets
97 Participants
484 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants