Like most OT practitioners, I’ve had wonderful and terrible experiences with evidence-based practice. I’ve worked with clinicians across the spectrum – from those who are up-to-date experts in their practice area to therapists whose only sources of evidence were Pinterest and occasional chats with coworkers.
As I’ve started working and participating in more professional dialogues about occupational therapy practice, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. In every setting where I’ve worked or done fieldwork, in online forums (including this blog), and at every conference I’ve heard people saying, “There’s no evidence for anything we do in OT!”
Just as an example, consider the two images below, both from online discussions I’ve seen or participated in this past year:
Source: WTF Blog Post Comment Section
At first I was quite confused by these statements. After all, I spent two years in a master’s program learning about different types of evidence that validate and legitimize the practice of occupational therapy – so how could these people say there wasn’t any evidence for OT intervention? It didn’t make any sense.
But as I joined the workforce and began spending more time at professional conferences, team meetings, and other events I noticed that few people cited anything other than their own experience, outdated trainings, or anecdotes from friends to back up what they were doing with their clients. Despite the professional push for evidence-based practice, countless news stories about the value and impact of OT, and my professors’ unending lists of references and clinical experience with the methods and information I learned, it seemed that many of the clinicians I interacted with did not use or even believe in a multifaceted, evidence-based approach to practice.