As I begin to know more about what OT is, I find it harder to draw a line between the two. They sometimes could co-exist perfectly, yet sometimes could make me take a stand. After all, I have been establishing myself as a great up-and-coming young church leader that people (both clergy and lay folks from other churches) notice and respect. I could see myself sharing my faith stories with some of my clients in the future. On the other hand, I am growing into a competent OT. I say that because I am now applying some of the OT skills I learned into my ministry work.
To me, discovering myself could be a great OT is me finding a hidden gift from God that I have not known until recently, as I have been blinded by my accomplishments and people praising my mathematical talents. I knew I had the "OT touch" when I recently got a godsister who is autistic. This relationship is similar to most godparent-godkid relationship in Christianity. We still haven't met each other yet, as I am in California and she's in Florida. But, I helped her got through the hurt she had experienced from her previous church in another denomination and helped her to be a devoted Episcopalian in the process. After all, the hurt she experienced was almost a replica of mine the year before. So, that was me putting theraputic use of self into action without knowing it.
But in the OT world, I know definitely would be dealing with a lot of non-Christians out there- some might have previous church experiences, some might not. Dealing with them would be a tough challenge for me. After all, sometimes it's hard to GO AGAINST things you preach. This is something I am sure a lot of OTs who are Christians would share this same thought. My way to deal with this is that, "These are situations that could test what I am made of as an OT and a Christian. As an OT, I must treat this client with respect and be as client-centered whenever possible. As a Christian, I would just go with my love and caring self instead of hardcore Bible verses. After all, actions speak louder than words and it's important to place things in God's hands whenever things seem difficult."
On a personal level, listening to contemporary christian music is important to keep myself in a balanced state. I say that because I am a person who receive well to pep talks, which neither of my parents were good at. Also, despite that I am in a Christian family, my parents rarely discuss spirituality and faith with me. So, I would play certain songs over and over. This is a practice I have done for over 6 years and I found it very effective in helping me getting right back on my feet the next day after a bad day. As I have been studying OT concepts now, I was stunned to learn that it is an example of a client-centered OT intervention that maintains my wellness and increases my Christian faith at the same time.
My opinion on using Christian faith in OT- One could use it, but only if the clients start to mention it first. Like politics, it is a controversial topic. Also, one could do more harm than good if he/she leads out. But, you could be both a Christian and an OT... it's just a matter of awareness of contexts and react accordingly.
Funny you type this. Just TODAY, I was asked by a patient's family to come visit their Mom who was just placed on Hospice care. They said I was a great spiritual inspiration to their mom.
During previous treatments with the patient, I had actually gotten out her Bible and read scripture to her. I also prayed with and for her.
So, in my experience faith in Jesus Christ will help you be a better therapist, regardless if you are working with a Christian, atheist or something in between.
Thanks for the comment.
I actually got a funny encounter, too. I remember it happened when I was doing my second level 1 field work (a one weeker) at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. As the rehab coordinator was showing me around the facility for my first day, I saw one of my local diocesan bishops. I was literally shocked because I didn't expect it.
Did you know that at one time there was a group called "OT's for Christ"? I don't think they are still around but who knows???
Good things to think through, Bill! I think, also, that we as Christians can play such a unique role in OT. The fact that God can multiply our efforts beyond our expectations and work his power through us is so incredible! So maybe the topic of "God" or "faith" may not even come up with a patient, but we know personally that God worked through us to help a patient/client in ways that were not humanly possible. I saw that when I worked in Peds, and it was overwhelming every time! There's no telling what he can do through us.
I didn't mention about this in here. My motivation to write this post comes from what I read in a couple books by Katherine Schori, current National Bishop of the Episcopal Church. I was lucky to get to hear her speak a couple times- once in Seattle 4.5 years ago and once during the Sunday between the end of our Kinesiology class and the start of our Neuroscience class.
My reflection on the books- Everyone has the power to change the world in his/her own way. As OTs, we are prime examples of that... since one of the things we do is to rebuild lives. This indirectly implies that we are changing the world for our clients.