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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


UYS, Michelle Elizabeth  and  CLOETE, Lizahn Gracia. The use of appreciative inquiry with mental health service consumers -towards responsive occupational therapy programmes. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2020, vol.50, n.1, pp.12-19. ISSN 2310-3833.

BACKGROUND: Common ways of planning and evaluating occupational therapy services include the clinical judgement of therapists and cause-effect interpretation of statistics. Patient-informed methods of planning occupational therapy services are yet to be explored within occupational therapy, and more specifically within the provision of in- and out-patient mental health services in South Africa. An Appreciative Inquiry was conducted to explore the views of a group of out-patients on a craft group at a tertiary mental health hospital in the Western Cape, South Africa. OBJECTIVES: To highlight the use of Appreciative Inquiry to explore the perspectives of out-patient mental health consumers. To identify the enabling elements contained in an Occupational Therapy out-patient craft group. METHODOLOGY: A social constructivist paradigm framed the research process. The 4-D model of Appreciative Inquiry was used. Six participants selected via purposive sampling were recruited as co-researchers. Five data collection sessions of 90 minutes each were conducted. Inductive analysis was used. FINDINGS: The research participants come from differing ethnic and social backgrounds which contributed to the richness and transferability of the findings. Participants identified ten elements that enabled them to improve their mental health and enhanced their sense of belonging to the group. These included non-judgement, being able to redo the craft activity at home, no pressure, the stimulating effect of the group, being able to talk to the therapist about anything, feeling like a family, socialising nicely, a calm environment, feeling safe at the group and a quiet environment. It may be unrealistic for an occupational therapist to have the time available to evaluate their clinical services using the Appreciative Inquiry model. However, it may be beneficial for occupational therapists to apply the principles of Appreciative Inquiry in the evaluation of their groups. CONCLUSION: Appreciative Inquiry is a valuable method for exploring patient views of useful aspects of occupational therapy outpatient art groups.

Keywords : Psychiatry; Craft Groups; Outpatients; Appreciative Inquiry.

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