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Christine E. Wright, Ph.D., OTR/L


This study aims to determine the fundamental tenets that define the occupational therapy education process, and to develop a professional education paradigm that corresponds to those principles. Interpretive phenomenology with Heideggerian hermeneutic philosophy was used to explicate the paradigmatic themes embedded in the occupational therapy body of knowledge. The results yielded the Occupational Therapy Professional Education Paradigm (OT-PEP), which is organized around three core concepts: Adaptive thinking, reflection, and creation of meaning. The OT-PEP is important to occupational therapy because it addresses the elements of the education process that are reflective of the philosophical underpinnings of the profession and brings together these understandings as a unified whole. Interpretive phenomenology asserts that analysis of data is influenced by the phenomenologist’s repertoire of experience. Therefore, the OT-PEP presented in the article can be considered a single offering from the author that has the potential to morph with additional analyses. The author is hopeful that occupational therapy education programs will discuss and debate the OT-PEP constructs and determine which elements are most valuable. In addition, novice educators could use the OT-PEP as a faculty development tool to assist with transitioning from clinical practice to academia.