#OTalk Research – 7th September 2021 – Writing productively

This week’s chat will be co-hosted by Katrina Bannigan @KatrinaBannigan from Glasgow Caledonian University with Nikki Daniels @NikkiDanielsOT on the #OTalk account.

Most of us are aware of the importance of writing, particularly peer reviewed papers, to ensure that our research findings have impact. That said, peer reviewed papers are not the whole story because so much of what we do as researchers is dependent on writing, for example, blogs, social media posts and patient information leaflets. Yet, even though writing is an important part of the research process, many of us struggle to write and most would argue it is challenging to find time to write. This is because we think we can only be productive if we have a substantial period of time to write. Rowena Murray has challenged us to rethink our approach to writing and there are a number of things we can do to become more productive writers.

One of the things she suggests is social writing— writing in a group with other people—which can increase motivation and promote accountability (Murray, 2015). To gauge if there was any interest in a writing group for occupational therapists, I wrote a blog and asked anyone who was interested to contact me. This led to me starting the occupational therapy writing group (@otwg_gcu) in February this year. Group sessions are held on zoom twice a week

  • 18.00-20.00 (BST) on Tuesdays
  • 09.00-11.00 (BST) on Fridays 

Only occupational therapists are invited to make it as comfortable and non-threatening an environment as possible. It seems to be working as we have had attendance at every session since it started usually between 9-18 people. Students who have attended the group found it so helpful they started their own group for students as part of their dissertation module; they wrote about their experience in a blog. Other people have described it as

  • The @otwg_gcu is excellent! Such as supportive space for a mix of academics, clinicians and students to set goals and focus on writing. Highly recommend” (Dr Carolynne White @Carolynne_OT March 18) 
  • …“I’ve seen great feedback on it, great way to protect time to do writing and get peer support” (Dr Mary Birken, @MaryBirken, March 2021)
  • This has been such a boost for my writing productivity..definitely time well spent. And joyous to connect with other OTs! (Dr Leisle Ezekiel, @lezeki, August 2021)
  • Starting a regular writing habit through @otwg_gcu has really helped me keep on track with writing and feel productive. Structure helps juggling competing demands” (Leona McQuaid, @LeonaMcquaid, August 2021)

This is why this month’s research #OTalk is focussing on writing productively. So whether you are a student, practitioner, researcher, manager, commissioner or policy maker please join in the discussion to share your experience and/ or learn about strategies for writing productively and how the @otwg_gcu is supporting occupational therapists to write.

Why not join in this #Otalk discussion and start to explore your writing habits? After all, our Chair of Council, Professor Diane Cox (2017), described writing about our work as being part of our lives as occupational beings. In the #OTalk discussion we will use the following questions to structure the discussion but please feel free to join in with other questions and perspectives:

  1. Is Professor Diane Cox (2017) right when she says writing about our work is part of our lives as occupational beings?
  1. Does anything prevent you from writing?
  1. Do you have any useful strategies, or writing habits, to support your writing productivity?
  1. Do you think a writing group can provide a source of writing accountability?
  1. What one habit will you adopt in the coming year to become more productive as a writer?


COX, D. (2017) The Dr Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture 2017: Life as an occupational being. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80(9) 525–532. DOI: 10.1177/0308022617722331
MURRAY, R. (2015). Writing in social spaces. Routledge.


Host:  Katrina Bannigan. @KatrinaBannigan.

Support on OTalk Account: @NikkiDanielsOT

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in this chat you can download the below transcript as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?


#OTalk 31th August 2021 – Start as you mean to go on … how are you going to ensure you are prepared for the next HCPC audit cycle?

This weeks chat will be hosted by I am Sarah Lawson @SLawsonOT

For occupational therapists our Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) re-registration window is currently open. How did you feel as we approached the 1 August 2021 and the beginning of our HCPC renewal and audit cycle? Which of the following do you identify with?

Are you a Bull in the China shop? Collecting CPD Certificates, attending anything that says it is free CPD with out any consideration for how this learning benefits your practice or service users. You write lots of reflections, but they are all bit random and you’re not sure how to relate them to the HCPC Standards.

Are you an Ostrich? Do you have your head buried in the sand, you’ll think about CPD if you’re selected for HCPC audit? You’ve managed to escape this time and you don’t need to think about it for another 2 years.

Do you procrastinate and sit on the fence? You have kept some CPD records, but they need organising and you’re not sure how to go about it. You always have plans to get organised next week or next time you have annual leave but that time never comes…


Are you a strategist? Confident that your CPD Portfolio is up to date, accurate and that you could easily submit your CPD Profile with evidence if you were one of the 2.5% selected by the HCPC for audit? (Hearle et al. 2016; Hearle and Lawson 2020)

You may identify with aspects of some or all of these. You may be newly registered and wondering how to organise your CPD. The aim of tonight’s #OTalk to is help you think about CPD, to start as you mean to go on for the new audit cycle and set some realistic goals to achieve over the coming year or two.

Why me hosting this #OTalk?

I am Sarah Lawson @SLawsonOT, a PhD Candidate researching occupational therapists’ engagement in CPD and their use of the TRAMm Model. I research, think, write, and dream (!) about CPD alongside lecturing @GlyndwrUniversity | @GlyndwrOT and maintaining my clinical skills working @TheChristieNHS 

I am also co-author of A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model which is also available for members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) to read via their website.

The TRAMm Model (Hearle et al. 2016; Hearle and Lawson 2020) is based on the premise that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a personal and subjective journey, as well as our professional responsibility and mandatory requirement of registration. CPD involves the recognition of and engagement in lifelong learning. To be effective we need to Tell others, Record and Apply what we have learnt, Monitor our progress and measure the impact. I am really interested in the amount of learning we do as part of our everyday work and life that could contribute to our CPD if we recognise and record it as such. 

As we begin our new 2 year audit cycle, and renew our HCPC registration (if you haven’t yet renewed, information is available via the HCPC website) how are you going to ensure that you are organised for the new audit cycle? During this chat I’d like to encourage you to think about CPD and to set some realistic goals that we can plan to review at another #OTalk during 2022. 

  1. As a start point for tonight’s #OTalk I’d like to take a moment to consider why it is so important that we engage in CPD. Why are we a @The_HCPC regulated profession?
  1. As our professional responsibility, do you know and understand what the HCPC Standards for CPD are, how many there are and what they mean? If not, what might help you understand them?
  1. Within your everyday work and life how do you recognise that you are learning something that could contribute to your CPD?
  1. Reflecting on our learning and development is fundamental to CPD engagement, how do you ensure that your reflections capture your learning along with how you apply this learning in practice?
  1. How do you measure/evaluate the impact of your learning and development on yourself and others?
  1. What CPD goals are you going to set yourself now?
  1. What have you learnt from this #OTalk, how will you ensure that it contributes to your CPD?


Hearle, D., Lawson, S. & Morris, R. (2016) A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model. Keswick: M&K Publishing. 

Hearle, D. & Lawson, S. (2020a) A Strategic Guide to Continuing Professional Development for Health and Care Professionals: The TRAMm Model. (2nd Ed). Keswick: M&K Publishing.

Some Resources to support your CPD


CPD Engagement

Recognising and Capturing CPD Vlog/Podcast Elizabeth Casson Masterclass 

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)


HCPC Three simple steps to be ready for a CPD Audit

HCPC Recognise, reflect, resolve: The Benefits of Reflecting on your Practice



RCOT Standards for occupational therapy practice, conduct and ethics

Principles for CPD and Lifelong learning

Post Chat

Host: @SLawsonOT from TRAMm Model.

Support on OTalk Account: @colourful_ot

Evidence your CPD. If you joined in the chat you can download the below as evidence for your CPD, but remember the HCPC are interested in what you have learnt.  So why not complete one of our reflection logs to evidence your learning?

HCPC Standards for CPD.

  • Maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their CPD activities.
  • Demonstrate that their CPD activities are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery.
  • Seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.
  • Upon request, present a written profile (which must be their own work and supported by evidence) explaining how they have met the Standards for CPD

#OTalk – 11th May 2021 – “Resilience” – helpful or a hindrance?

This weeks chat will be hosted by Rachael Daniels @RachaelD_OT .

“We work in a world of traumas and triumphs. Most of the persons we serve come to us out of necessity, struggling with the sequelae of disease and illness or the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters.” (Fine, 1991). 

The term “resilience” is used when referring to how individuals overcome adversity (Bonanno, 2004). The term seems to be everywhere, but what does it really mean? Is referring to somebody as resilient a compliment? Or could it be considered insulting? 

In recent decades, there has been an influx of research on resilience (Bonanno, 2004; Leipold & Greve, 2009; Becvar, 2012) and yet a collective notion on its value is yet to be reached. Such interest in resilience is not surprising, as many industries and professions continue to move from a deficit-based approach to a strength-based approach. It is likely through the influx of this traction that the buzzword ‘resilience’ has taken off. 

In terms of defining resilience, there is controversy in the literature as to whether resilience is a personal trait, a process, or an outcome (Ahern, Ark, & Byers, 2008). In the field of psychology, resilience is considered to be a biopsychosocial and spiritual phenomenon. It is often defined as ‘the developable capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity, conflict, and failure or even positive events, progress, and increased responsibility’ (Luthans, 2002, p. 702). 

When considering individuals and their perceived resilience,  Becvar (2012) surmised that one of the most accepted beliefs is that resilience refers to the capacity of those who, even in incredibly stressful situations, are able to cope, to rebound, and to eventually go on and thrive (Becvar, 2012). Lopez (2011) stated that Occupational Therapy practitioners should be cognizant of a patient’s resilient and adaptive capacity when providing services to a patient that has endured a traumatic event. With that in mind, is there a role for Occupational Therapists in assisting individuals to increase their resilience? Or indeed, is it even possible for one to improve their resilience? 

Newman (2005); Padesky & Mooney (2012) and Peters (2020), argue that we can all learn techniques to help build resilience. These are said to include: cognitive reframing techniques, character-building, stress management, viewing crises as challenges, learning to accept things you can’t change; sharing feelings, and keeping things in perspective (Peters, 2020). Is this something that we, as Occupational Therapists, are already addressing? If not, should we be?

  1. What does resilience mean to you?
  2. Would you be happy to be referred to as resilient? Please explain your answer. 
  3. Have you ever referred to somebody as resilient? If so, what was their response?
  4. Do you feel that the term resilient could demean the conscious efforts of individuals to overcome adversity?


Ahern, N. R., Ark, P., & Byers, J. (2008) ‘Resilience and coping strategies in adolescents’, Paediatric Nursing, 20, pp.32-36.

Becvar, D.S. ed., (2012) Handbook of family resilience. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Bonanno, G.A (2004) ‘Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events?’ American Psychologist, 59(1), pp.20–28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.59.1.20

Fine, S.B. (1991) ‘Resilience and human adaptability: Who rises above adversity?’, American Journal of Occupational Therapy45(6), pp.493-503.

Leipold, B. & Greve, W. (2009) ‘Resilience: A conceptual bridge between coping and development’, European Psychologist14(1), pp.40-50.

Lopez, A. (2011) ‘Posttraumatic stress disorder and occupational performance: building resilience and fostering occupational adaptation’, Work38(1), pp.33-38.

Luthans, F. (2002) ‘The need for and meaning of positive organizational behavior’, Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior23(6), pp.695-706.

Newman, R. (2005) ‘APA’s resilience initiative’, Professional psychology: research and practice36(3), p.227.

Padesky, C.A. & Mooney, K.A. (2012) ‘Strengths‐based cognitive–behavioural therapy: A four‐step model to build resilience’, Clinical psychology & psychotherapy19(4), pp.283-290.Peters, M.A. (2020) ‘The Plague: Human resilience and the collective response to catastrophe’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2020.1745921


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#OTalk Research 4th May 2021 – Autoethnography and Occupational Therapy

This weeks research focus chat will be hosted by Dr Gemma Wells @GemmaOTPhD. I am a Senior Lecturer and the Professional Lead in Occupational Therapy at Canterbury Christ Church University.  I am a qualitative researcher with a particular interest in using research methods that require an element of creativity, as illustrated by my use of photo-elicitation in my PhD.

As an Occupational Therapist I am inspired by the occupational narratives of people and communities.  The insight that these narratives provide is beyond anything that can be observed as they represent the personally attributed meaning and lived experience of the individual.  This personal experience is set within the context that surrounds the individual, a context that is shaped by a range of personal, local, and global factors.  My interest in the personal narratives of others has recently steered me to consider my own experiences as an occupational being, a process that has led me to the research method of autoethnography.

Autoethnography is a qualitative research method concerned with exploring the interplay between personal experience, and the social and cultural worlds in which this personal experience exists (Denshire and Lee 2013). Starting with their individual narrative, autoethnography requires the researcher to engage in a process of moving between existing theory and their described lived experience to enable the individual to make sense of their narrative.

We are all occupational beings that engage in personally meaningful activities (occupations), with our own occupational narratives to be told and explored. Embracing autoethnography as a research method could enable us all to make a positive a contribution to the body of research that informs Occupational Therapy practice.

This #OTalk aims to explore the potential of autoethnography as a means of contributing to the evidence base and theory informing Occupational Therapy practice.  The questions that will be considered are:

  1. What do you consider to be the benefits of taking an autoethnographic approach in Occupational Therapy research?
  2. How could you use autoethnography to inform your practice of Occupational Therapy?
  3. What are the potential challenges of using autoethnography within Occupational Therapy research?
  4. What might prevent you from personally engaging with autoethnography?
  5. If you were to complete one piece of autoethnographic work, what would be the main theme that you would be interested in exploring?

Denshire S, Lee A (2013) Conceptualising Autoethnography as Assemblage: Accounts of Occupational Therapy.  International Journal of Qualitative Methods 12(1):221-236


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#OTalk – 27th April 2021 – Perinatal Mental Health – an Occupational Approach in Journeys to Recovery

This chat will be hosted by Rachael Coates (@rachaelOTUK) and Sarah Maris-Shaw (@sarahmarisshaw)

Following the recognition of significant inequality in access to perinatal mental health care across the UK, the Government committed to 3 waves of funding to increase access to services. Since 2015, a vast investment has been made, and there are now 21 mother and baby inpatient units and 80% of England has access to some form of perinatal mental health service. This service expansion has produced a rapid increase in occupational therapy posts and has required occupational therapists to upskill quickly, considering both the mother, baby and their relationship in their day to day practice. An occupational approach to supporting those in the perinatal period is very relevant and reflected in the rate at which the specialism is growing. Significant changes in daily routines, responsibilities, associated roles, and relationship are commonplace in the journey to motherhood, with associated occupational imbalance and deprivation being common.

Working with Health Education England, RCOT have addressed some of the training needs of those who are new into post and those wanting support and direction in their role through the development of an E-Learning training programme. In addition, the RCOT Specialist Section for Mental Health launched the Perinatal clinical forum in 2019. The long term plan 2019 also pledged to align provision with the 1001 day campaign to provide support to those with mental health issues from pre-conception until baby’s second birthday and recognising the support needs of partners within the family unit.

A few years on it is interesting to reflect on the diversity of our work, how the pandemic has influenced practice and what have we learnt from working with families in their journey. We are also keen to support the UK maternal mental health awareness week 3-9 May are interested in exploring the theme ‘Journeys to Recovery’. UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (perinatalmhpartnership.com)

  1. What is your priority as an occupational therapist when working with women during the perinatal period?
  2. What skills do you bring that others in team are not trained or aware of?
  3. What barriers do you face and how have you overcome them?
  4. What have you learnt that might help another OT working in perinatal mental health?
  5. Please share an example of a Journey to Recovery – what did occupational therapy add to this journey to recovery?


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