Friday, December 16, 2011

Final Post

After reading the article “The taking of tea: A common phenomenon” for a second time I felt that I could make links to many more of the sayings within it. When I first read this article my exact thinking was summarised with this line from the article “I had thought that being quite prepared to have a glass of water instead would make things easier if anything, so what could all the fuss be about?” (pp.10). Since my first reading of this article I have experienced many times in practice where a cup of tea has been offered or has been a part of assessment. As I read through the article for the second time these experiences and the clients whom gave me these experiences were now memories in which this article highlighted. Below are some of these experiences and the line within the article in which highlighted these experiences which I have learnt from.
On page seven of the article it talks about the different methods of making tea, this paragraph reminded me how a lady and man in an assessment taught me the importance of the method in which they prepare their cup of tea and the memories of family that these are associated with, and also to be aware of my own values, beliefs and culture around a cup of tea to ensure that I am not to interpret observations based on my own culture.
A man taught me the value of accepting a cup of tea when entering a home, as this simple accepting of tea also held an emerging new role for this client and also held the potential to build rapport and strengthen the client-therapist relationship this memory was linked to the sentence “If I was the host, it could be even worse. Since I was not sharing the contents of the teapot, or even teabag, any advantage to be gained in proffering a warming cup of welcome was lost.” (pp.11)
This learning has enabled me to reflect on past learning experiences and how these will impact my future practice as an occupational therapist. In my future practice If appropriate I will take the time to spend on sharing a cup of tea with clients as I now understand the importance this activity has for not only the client but also for myself as the therapist and the client-therapist relationship that we will build. I will also ensure that I will be aware of the different cultural methods of preparing a cup of tea and also continue to self-reflect on my own culture to ensure that I do not interpret observations I have made incorrectly.

In my opinion occupational therapists should also take the time to review their own culture, values and beliefs around sharing a cup of tea, as I have done through my experiences as a student and also throughout this blog. I feel that self-reflection has enabled me to improve my practice as an occupational therapist and assist me in ensuring that my practice is culturally safe; I believe that the technique of self-reflection will not only assist students in improving their practice but also occupational therapists that are currently practicing. As stated by Stedman & Thomas (2011) Practice modifications to ensure culturally safe practice requires a client-centered approach; self-awareness on behalf of the therapist, facilitated through self-reflection.
I also believe that occupational therapists should take the time to reflect about the impact that declining the offer of a cup of tea may have on the relationship that they are building with their clients. Caulton (1995) stated within her article how she remembers saying no thank you to a cup of tea and how lately she had become aware of the distress that this answer could cause.

I want to thank you for taking the time to engage in my blag and hope that through my experiences and through the topics discussed that you will be able to reflect on what a cup of tea means for you!

Now relax, enjoy this song and have a cup of tea!

Caulton, R. (1995, December). The taking of tea: a common phenomenon. Occupation, 3(2), 6-22.

Stedman, A., & Thomas, Y. (2011, February). Reflecting on our effectiveness: Occupational therapy interventions with Indigenous clients. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58(1), 43-49.

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