#OTalk 27th February – Trans, non-binary and gender identities in occupational engagement.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “gender identities in occupational engagement.” and will be hosted by Rebecca Swanson (@75Rebecca) and supported by Eden Dowers.


Eden Dowers: Eden is a non-binary occupational therapy (masters) student living and studying in Melbourne, Australia. Their interest is in developing transgender-positive practice, highlighting the need to create more complex concepts of identity and multiple ways of becoming.

Rebecca Swenson: Rebecca is a lecturer in occupational therapy at London South Bank University. She is currently undertaking UKOTRF funded research into the lived experience of those who define as trans, non-binary or genderqueer, exploring the relationship between occupational engagement and identity expression.

Here’s what they had to say…

There has been a recent and profound shift in the understanding, and recognition, of transgender and non-binary identities. This is reflected in potential changes to legislation, namely the Gender Recognition Act which would make it easier for those who define as trans or non-binary to self-declare their gender rather than undergo the arduous legal and medical processes currently in place.

Whilst attitudes and legislation may be changing, those who are trans and non-binary can face hostility and discrimination and there remains misinformation about these communities particularly with regards to health needs. In 2016, the parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee published the results of their Transgender Equality Inquiry which examined the ways in which transgender people have yet to achieve full equality and involved the scrutiny of practice across health and social care professions. The report states that the NHS is failing to protect the rights of trans people, due in part to lack of knowledge and understanding from clinicians of the health needs of these communities.

With these proposed changes to legislation and an increasing number of people defining as trans and non-binary, as reflected in the significant increase of referrals to Gender Identity Clinics, it is timely to discuss gender identities in relation to practice. This will be an opportunity for the OTtalk community to discuss best practice and the positive role that occupational therapy can play in enabling those who are trans or non-binary express their gender and live a life authentic to them.






#OTalk 20th February 2018 – Employing OTs with seen and unseen impairments.

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “Benefits & myths of employing OTs with seen & unseen impairments” and will be hosted by Lynsey McClean (@LynseyMcc_OT).

The views and perspectives of colleagues have a significant impact on occupational therapists with impairments and disabilities, particularly in relation to job satisfaction and success. As occupational therapists work with clients with impairments and disabilities it would be presumed that they would have positive attitudes towards fellow employees with impairments and disabilities. However, previous research has highlighted that this is not always the case, with reports of bullying, discrimination and negative or unsupportive attitudes, which can negatively impact upon occupational therapists, and other health care professionals (HCPs) with disabilities’ self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth (Velde, 2000; Bevan, 2014; Chacala et al., 2014).

Other studies have explored what staff perceive to be as issues with employing a person with an impairment or disability an as an occupational therapist or other HCP (Grainger, 2008; Aaberg, 2010; Wood and Marshall, 2010; Hibberd, 2011; Hargreaves et al., 2014).

Nonetheless, studies on managers of HCPs and qualitative studies which explored the experiences of occupational therapists and HCPs with impairments and disabilities have all challenged these assumptions and highlighted numerous unique benefits they offer (llingworth, 2005; Hernandez et al., 2008; Wood and Marshall, 2010; Neal-Boylan, 2012).

Some questions to consider…

  1. What do you think the potential benefits are of employing someone with an impairment or disability as an occupational therapist?
  2. Do you think there are potential issues of employing someone with an impairment or disability as an occupational therapist? If so what are they?
  3. Why do you think someone might not disclose their impairment or disability at work?
  4. How can you (or we) positively challenge and change colleagues’ negative attitudes towards fellow employees with an impairment or disability?

Post Chat

online transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript February 20th 2018

The Numbers

1.621M Impressions
471 Tweets
45 Participants
377 Avg Tweets/Hour
10 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants



#OTalk 13th February – When we’re busy helping others how can we make time to look after ourselves?

This weeks #Otalk is on the topic of “occupational balance” and will be hosted byAmie Mowlam-Tett (@Amie_OT).

Here is what Amy had to say…

Personally, this topic is one close to my heart; during the second year of my MSc I experienced a number of personal setbacks, including the death of a close relative. At one time I couldn’t imagine myself qualifying, it took peer support and time to balance my occupations, remembering time for myself and I did it. I qualified. More importantly, I learnt a lot about balance and need for ‘me’ time. I want to share my experiences and get talking about the importance of our own health and wellbeing when so much of our times is focused on the health and wellbeing of others.

Wilson & Wilcock (2005) addressed the topic of occupational balance in student populations, finding time, money and stress to occupational imbalance and negatively affect wellbeing. Similarly, Clouston (2014) found Occupational Therapists often prioritised their workload and studying over leisure occupations negatively impacting on occupational balance and overall wellbeing.

With months to go before the end of the course for students, it’s easy to become focused on work and neglect time for yourself. I am asking you to take a break, breathe and think about your own wellbeing. Let’s talk about balance, what it means to us and come up with strategies to help keep that work-life balance healthy. This isn’t just for students, for clinicians, it’s a perfect opportunity to share your experiences, hints or advice and maybe pick up a few tips too.

Some questions to consider:

  1. What does occupational balance mean to you?
  2. How important is occupational balance in your daily life?
  3. How well balanced do you feel your occupations are? (eg work/studying and home-life)
  4. What most affect your occupational balance?
  5. How do you create occupational balance, what strategies do you use?
  6. What tips do you have for students about to qualify?
  7. If you could change one thing about your occupational balance what would it be?


Clouston TJ (2014) Whose occupational balance is it anyway? The challenge of neoliberal capitalism and work–life imbalance. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 77 (10) 507–515.

Wilson L & Wilcock A (2005) Occupational Balance: What Tips the Scales for New Students? British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 68 (7) 319–323.


Online Transcript

#OTalk Healthcare Social Media Transcript February 13th 2018

The Numbers

2.031M Impressions
612 Tweets
110 Participants
16 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants