Maintaining client mental well-being within a physical health setting through therapeutic mechanisms – A scoping review for occupational therapy

Monica Orange
12 November 2021

Orange, M. (2021). Maintaining client mental well-being within a physical health setting through therapeutic mechanisms – A scoping review for occupational therapy. (A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand).



This research was conducted to identify what is currently known about the skills, strategies, and techniques used within occupational therapy practice to promote mental well-being within a physical health setting; and to collate this information in the form of a scoping review for the occupational therapy community to access. A scoping review methodology was used to achieve the outlined objectives and explore the given research topic.

Findings produced from this scoping review revealed themes which provided insight about what is known about the facilitators and barriers to addressing psychological well-being within clinical settings; the relationship between occupation and well-being; positive changes recommended for occupational therapy and healthcare service delivery to more prominently encompass well-being values; effective approaches for enhancing the mental and holistic well-being of all individuals; specific interventions and strategies with therapeutic attributes; and assessments which can be added to the occupational therapist’s toolkit to consistently address the mental well-being of their client throughout the rehabilitation recovery process.

The occupational therapist’s unique occupational identity and informed, therapeutic, holistic, and person-centered skillset makes members of this profession equipped and capable leaders during a shift in healthcare service delivery which focuses on mental well-being promotion and the prioritization of subjectively measured holistic well-being outcomes. Although there are current barriers which decrease clinician’s self-efficacy to effectively address a client’s mental well-being within a physical health setting, there are many solutions which can be implemented alongside regular therapy interventions to enhance the experience of the service user. Conclusions drawn from the collated evidence outlined within this review indicate that the mental/physical health gap can be minimized by normalizing well-being as a standard practice; integrating positive mental well-being strategies into primary care; and increasing the use of person-centered practices which demonstrate cultural responsiveness, provide opportunities for spiritual expression, and facilitate creative interventions with respect to the individuality of each person. These interventions can easily be integrated into an occupation identity well-being perspective, which provides a unique occupational therapy slant to supporting well-being.

Keywords: well-being, occupational therapy, mental health, physical health, person-centred practice, therapeutic approach

Monica's research was supervised by Rita Robinson and Darren Mills.


This thesis is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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