Medical personnel and patient; Creative ability


The purpose of this study was to document occupational therapists’ reported use of “creativity” in different practice realms, discover how they defined creativity, and determine their views on its importance to the field. A survey was sent to a random sample of 250 therapist members of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Seventy surveys were returned (28%). Descriptive statistics were calculated to portray responses and reveal relationships between demographic and response variables. The majority of respondents worked in children/youth, or rehabilitation settings. Therapists practicing 35+ years reported creativity in occupational therapy to be significantly more important (M = 8.1 of 10) than in other professions, compared with therapists in practice 0 – 5 years (M = 5.3 of 10). Seven themes emerged from answers to, “As an occupational therapist, when are you most creative?” The most prevalent were treatment planning/adjustment, difficult/challenging situations, and problem solving. The words – ability, using, new, and make – were most frequently used in response to the question, “What is your definition of creativity?” Although creativity is sparsely documented in occupational therapy literature, therapists reported it as integral to the occupational therapy process (M = 8.96 of 10) and client outcomes (M = 8.66 of 10), and vital to the field of occupational therapy (M = 8.94 of 10). More research is recommended to explore the role of creativity in occupational therapy and its use by therapists in practice.

First Advisor

George S. Tornlin, PhD, ORT/L

Second Advisor

Lucretia Berg, MSOT, OTR/L

Date of Completion

Spring 2013

Degree Type







Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)

Date of Award



Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound