The broad definition of occupational therapy, its holistic basis and its unifying characteristics enable occupational therapists to treat their clients as whole human beings. Yet, the holistic basis of occupational therapy and the divergence of its specialty areas seem to be polarised. This study explores Israeli occupational therapists' perceptions of their professional role and boundaries, and how it is affected by professional background; 265 Israeli occupational therapists participated in the study. A two‐part questionnaire was constructed: (1) an attitudinal questionnaire including statements on issues that concern occupational therapists regarding the definition of the profession and its role; (2) nine items representing the main unifying characteristics of occupational therapy. Results indicate seven factors underlying the main issues concerning occupational therapists in Israel. From the seven factors two main sources of tension were revealed: strong sense of self‐value as compared to lack of recognition by others and the advantages and the pitfalls of the holistic definition of occupational therapy. The most unifying characteristic of occupational therapy was the holistic definition, and the least important was the use of arts and crafts. In addition, occupational therapists from developmental disabilities area of specialty were distinct from others in their perceptions of the profession.
- occupational therapy definition
- professional practice
- specialty areas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Occupational Therapy