Ireland National OT News

News from Ireland, 2019

AOTI launch LGBT+ Guidelines for Occupational Therapists

The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) recently launched LGBT+ Awareness and Good Practice Guidelines for Occupational Therapists to promote the highest standards of practice when providing an Occupational Therapy service to clients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. LGBT+ is used in the guidelines to capture everything on the gender and sexuality spectrum that letters and words cannot yet describe.

The guidelines were written by occupational therapists: Dr Mark Brown, Jane Freeman, Vanessa Jordan, Niall Kirrane and Odhrán Allen, and have 3 objectives:

  1. To clarify language, concepts and good practice principles to enable occupational therapists to provide an LGBT+ inclusive service,
  2. To assist occupational therapists to understand how particular life experiences (such as discrimination and fear of coming out) can affect some LGBT+ people’s physical and mental health, as well as their occupational and social identities,
  3. To describe specific Occupational Therapy practices which enable LGBT+ clients’ occupations and social engagement and support their full occupational identity.

Underpinning these new guidelines are the following core principles:

  • Sexual orientation and gender identity are core parts of everyone’s sense of self and therefore are key considerations in the person-centred practice of every occupational therapist.
  • AOTI see lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual and pansexual identities as part of the spectrum of normal human sexual orientation.
  • AOTI see transgender and non-binary identities as part of the spectrum of normal human gender identity.
  • There is an ethical requirement for occupational therapists to respect and affirm the identity of LGBT+ individuals and to provide them with appropriate support.
  • With the right support, LGBT+ people, like all people, can thrive and flourish, and live satisfying and meaningful lives.

AOTI see these new guidelines as a valuable resource for Occupational Therapy practitioners, managers, educators, researchers, policy-makers and students to make our profession a fully LGBT+ inclusive one.

Given the client-centred and holistic nature of our profession, occupational therapists have huge potential to be leaders within their own services and to become advocates of LGBT+ inclusive practice. AOTI hopes that these good practice guidelines will inspire and empower occupational therapists to do so.

AOTI encourages other COTEC Member Associations to reflect on how their members can be supported to be true to the ethos of our profession by being LGBT+ inclusive in their practice.

A copy of the LGBT+ Awareness and Good Practice Guidelines for Occupational Therapists can be downloaded from the AOTI website here:

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