By Sainani G. (ed.)
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Physicians initiated the profession, and it was their intention to maintain tight control of the activities of the new discipline. Dunton for example, advanced a definition of occupational therapy as “any activity, mental or physical, definitely prescribed and guided for the distinct purpose of contributing to and hastening recovery from disease” (p. 28 He continued to identify the responsibility of prescribing and guiding occupational therapy as that of the physician by stating that: “If the physician is sufficiently informed to indicate the specific activity desired this may also be written on the prescription” (p.
48 This instrumental view of the mind was based on the premise derived from Darwin that a human organism interacts with the environment in an attempt to adapt. 23 If it recovers through its own action and effort, it functions at a higher level, having been enriched by ensuing challenges (a phenomenon that may be understood as adaptation). However, if the challenges are too overwhelming, the gap between the organism and its environment becomes too large and cannot be bridged, in which case it dies.
Early Development of the Profession (1910-1920) Occupational therapy developed rapidly during this decade. This development was given 27 impetus by several factors, chief among which was World War I. 10,35,57 This was the beginning of the rehabilitation movement and of occupational therapy’s venture into physical rehabilitation. The reconstruction program was modeled on a rehabilitation framework in England, which was based on the following assumptions: that soldiers with disabilities could undergo a process of orthopedic rehabilitation that would make them fit for either continued military duty or, if discharged, civilian employment—thus mitigating the economic strain on the country of having to provide financially for pensioned soldiers with disabilities .