Looking Like an Occupational Therapist: (Re)presentations of Her Comportment within Autoethnographic Tales

  • Sally DenshireEmail author
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 11)


The work of occupational therapists to do with ordinary-everyday activities of others is ambivalently represented. Indeed current notions of ‘regulated evidence’ and ‘wise practice’ can present clashing traditions for occupational therapists. Writing practice differently since the 1980s, I am interested in internal and external representations of lived bodies in practice. This chapter, about the role that representations(s) might play in better understanding practice and the body, draws on selected moments of my occupational therapy work from the 1980s. Each fictive re-telling of a selected article from my body of work placed in dialogue with a corresponding tale was presented in a portfolio of autoethnographic tales of sexuality, food and death. The excerpts in this chapter show the socio-material comportment of a 30-something occupational therapist going about her youth-specific practice in a paediatric hospital. Having a woman’s lived and practising body located in the foreground of these autoethnographic re-tellings provides a series of unexpected (re)presentations of professional practice. Professional comportment is disciplined and shaped through a series of experiences of comfort and discomfort occurring within, on and around a lived and practised body, as well as what inter-professional others notice about each other’s demeanour and conduct on a hospital ward.


Occupational Therapist Professional Practice Occupational Therapy Therapist Character Regulate Evidence 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Community Health/Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE)Charles Sturt University (CSU)AlburyAustralia

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