Meanings of creativity within occupational therapy practice


  • Therese Schmid MHlthScOT, AATR, Dip OTNSW; Lecturer.

    The research was conducted in the Hunter Valley and New South Wales. It was prepared as a part of the requirements for completion of Master of Health Science (Occupational Therapy) at the University of South Australia, Adelaide.

Therese Schmid, 33 King Street, Lorn, NSW 2320, Australia. Email:


Since the early days of the occupational therapy profession, creativity has been intrinsic to the beliefs and practice of occupational therapists. However, notions of creativity have been rarely explicated in occupational therapy research. The aim of this exploratory research was to study the phenomenon of creativity through the subjective perceptions of three occupational therapy clinicians. This qualitative research used a methodology in the spirit of phenomenology and took a descriptive, critical approach. Five themes of meaning were derived from the data: creativity is part of everyday practice; the use of creativity as a conscious approach; creativity involves risk-taking; creativity needs a supportive environment; and creativity is the use of expressive arts in therapy. This study illustrated that creativity, as a phenomenon, has a multifaceted structure and appears to manifest in practice in a much richer way than is being revealed by occupational therapy literature.