Restoring the Spirit

Restoring the Spirit: The Beginnings of Occupational Therapy in Canada, 1890-1930

Judith Friedland
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Restoring the Spirit
    Book Description:

    Tracing the influence of popular political and social movements of the time, including the Mental Hygiene, Arts and Crafts, and Settlement House movements, Judith Friedland tells the stories of pioneering women in the field and describes how they established professional associations, workshops, and educational programs. She highlights the help they received from male physicians, which gave them access to those with decision-making power, and examines their work in both rural and urban environments with those from different economic and ethnic backgrounds. An informative look at the origins of a field that now has over thirteen thousand practitioners in Canada, Restoring the Spirit is also the compelling story of the rise of working women and their crucial contributions to the history of health care.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8611-6
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Christie Brenchley and Gail Teachman

    We at the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) are delighted and honoured to offer a foreword to this important new book, a work that contributes comprehensive and uniquely Canadian perspectives to existing historical accounts of occupational therapy. Judith Friedland, the author, is superbly qualified to describe the conditions, the beliefs, and the personal commitments that gave rise to our profession.

    This year, 2011, marks several “birthdays” for the profession of occupational therapy in Canada. Both the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto turn eighty-five. Our...

    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    There is currently no comprehensive history of occupational therapy in Canada. Given that occupational therapy is as old in Canada as anywhere else in the world, the lack of a written history leaves a major gap for the profession and, it is argued, for health care in general. To help close this gap, I have chosen the period from 1890 to 1930 as a frame for my work. This was the time when occupational therapy began to take shape as a profession; when individual women worked with those in need, used occupations to raise morale and self-esteem, and taught skills...

  6. PART ONE Context and Foundations
    • 1 Social and Political Context
      (pp. 3-13)

      In the 1890s, Canada was still a young country. Seven provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia) and the Northwest Territories had joined Confederation by that time, with Yukon joining in 1898 and Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905. The total population of Canada was just under five million. Ontario and Quebec were the most populated provinces, followed by Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.¹ Until 1911, those of British ancestry made up 55.5 per cent of Canada’s population. “Other European” comprised 41.7 per cent, with two-thirds of this group being French; the Asian...

    • 2 Mental Illness and Mental Hygiene
      (pp. 14-28)

      The beginnings of occupational therapy are most clearly seen in treatments for mental illness. Occupations have been provided for those with mental illness for centuries. From biblical times to the present, being engaged in some form of activity has been found to be helpful. However, not all of the reasons for providing occupations were altruistic. Occupations were used to control patients’ behaviour or, through the patients’ labour, to benefit the institution financially. Only occasionally were they used as a direct form of treatment for the individual.

      It was apparent to many of those responsible for the care of people with...

    • 3 The Arts and Crafts Movement
      (pp. 29-42)

      Little is understood of how crafts came to be used as an intervention in occupational therapy. With few exceptions,² the occupational therapy literature dismisses the use of crafts as having been appropriate only in the time past and ignores any intrinsic meaning they may have had. There are few references to the value attached to crafts by society — then or now.³ The assumptions about crafts and, to some extent, a whole range of creative occupations (e.g., art, music, horticulture) are thus dismissed. With that, much of the underlying philosophy — and uniqueness — of occupational therapy is ignored.⁴

      In the last part...

    • 4 The Settlement House Movement
      (pp. 43-57)

      If occupational therapy is linked with mental health because of a basic need for humans to engage in work or other activities, and if the arts and crafts movement brought a spiritual, soul-saving dimension to occupations, then the settlement house movement might seem almost unrelated to the notion of occupations being important to well-being. The occupations used in the settlement house movement served a larger goal: they were planned for the well-being of the community within which individuals lived, and they were designed to help community members survive and belong.

      The activities of daily living constitute one of the cornerstones...

      (pp. 58-68)

      The widespread use of crafts as a treatment modality in early occupational therapy can be credited in part to the popularity of the role of crafts in education at the end of the 1800s. Craftwork, or manual training as it was more generally known, was a significant component of educational reform.

      The pedagogical philosophy in support of manual training found application in the use of crafts in the treatment of soldiers with injuries and illness in World War I. Though not made explicit at the time, there was an underlying rationale that if children learned through “doing,” then injured soldiers...

    • 6 Pioneering Women: LUTHER, PECK, AND SCOTT
      (pp. 69-82)

      In the decade or so leading up to World War I, women were taking on new roles, some of which would lead directly to occupational therapy.Roles for women in Canada at the turn of the century varied greatly and generally depended on social class, geographical location, and marital status. In these years, the pioneering women in occupational therapy differed in several ways from other women. Most were born to middle-and upper-class families, whether in major cities like Toronto, Montreal, or Winnipeg or in small towns. Many attended private schools and “finishing” schools, perhaps travelling abroad at some point to broaden...

  7. PART TWO World War I
      (pp. 85-97)

      By the start of World War I, several ideas about the use of occupations as a means of treatment were already in place. In mental institutions, occupations for patients reduced the need for physical and chemical restraints and lifted morale. In some segments of society, occupations, mainly in the form of crafts, were used to relieve stress, restore the soul, and develop a sense of community. In settlement houses, occupations helped immigrants preserve their sense of identity and self-image and learn new skills for work and daily living. In schools, occupations — in the form of manual training — were used to...

      (pp. 98-113)

      Many middle- and upper-class women were already involved in philanthropic work before the war. They were generally well educated and had the means to work as volunteers; indeed, there was an expectation that they would do such work. They worked primarily with the poor, but also with immigrants, children, and those who were disabled. They raised funds, served on organizing committees, and sometimes performed hands-on tasks in caring for the sick or teaching skills in the home. Their work made a much-needed contribution to society at a time when there were no formal supports.

      Philanthropic work often led to political...

      (pp. 114-130)

      On 21 February 1918, the newly formed Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment (DSCR ), took on the task of overseeing the training course for ward aides previously organized by the Military Hospitals Commission.² The end of the war was still not in sight and the number of injured soldiers returning to Canada was increasing daily. More ward aides were needed to help these men begin their long road to recovery. Even if the war was to end soon, the soldiers’ re-establishment would be ongoing and ward aides would be needed for some time to come. It was recognized that the...

    • 10 Graduates of the Ward Aides Courses
      (pp. 131-144)

      The women who took the ward aides courses differed in several ways from the untrained ward aides who had gone before them. Application criteria meant that they were of a certain age and already had some advanced education or training. However, there were other, perhaps more subtle factors at play. Having some credentials already in hand, many of the women who took the courses were looking for a career and a proper working life. Approximately 12 per cent of the women in the ward aides courses were married when they began and many of those women were widowed.² The single...

  8. PART THREE Building a Profession
    • 11 Establishing Professional Organizations, Curative Workshops, and a Journal: POSTWAR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
      (pp. 147-163)

      In the years following the war, the future for ward aides, or occupational therapists as many were starting to be called, was becoming uncertain. Their work had been undertaken as a short-term solution to a wartime problem. While it was clear that many veterans would require help for years to come, with almost all of the injured soldiers having returned home by the summer of 1919, even that work was sure to decrease. The issue now was this: Is the work of the occupational therapist appropriate for other populations and other settings? There is no evidence to suggest that ward...

    • 12 Establishing an Educational Program
      (pp. 164-175)

      When Doris Stupart, the first president of the Ontario Society for Occupational Therapy (OSOT ), reported on the work of the association in 1921, she noted that to be viable the profession would need to establish a permanent course of training, preferably within a university.² This need had also been identified by the Manitoba group and was likely recognized by occupational therapists practising across the country. If more therapists were not trained, the fledgling profession would disappear; if new therapists were not trained at a university level, standards would be difficult to uphold.

      With the establishment of the occupational therapy...

    • 13 The Men in Front of the Women
      (pp. 176-190)

      Although occupational therapy has generally been considered a “female profession,” with less than 10 per cent of practitioners being male, men were very influential in the founding of the profession and very involved in its running for over forty years. On the one hand, there were men who held positions that put the women in their employ. For example, Kidner, as the vocational secretary of the Military Hospitals Commission (MHC) was nominally in charge of the ward aides nationally; Haultain, as the vocational officer of Ontario, oversaw the ward aides in his province, as did the (male) vocational officers for...

    • 14 Conceptual Conflicts
      (pp. 191-203)

      Between 1890 and 1930, many changes had occurred in Canada in terms of its size, population, and economy. While the country had suffered major losses in the Great War, some would say it had also gained an identity. Having entered the war as a colony of Great Britain, Canada emerged with great pride in its soldiers and a new sense of independence.

      By 1930, Canada included nine provinces and two territories, stretching from sea to sea to sea. The population of just over ten million had been growing rapidly in most parts of the country but showed some decline in...

    • 15 Enduring Values, Ongoing Challenges, and Opportunities
      (pp. 204-212)

      The profession of occupational therapy has expanded and evolved since its beginnings in the early twentieth century. Many of the values embraced by therapists at that time remain in place today despite new discoveries in health care and the shifting conditions of practice. That many values have remained is likely a testament to how robust they were at the outset. These values bear restating because they are powerful reminders of the essence of the profession. Other values, ones that have wavered over the years, also bear revisiting.

      The primary motivation for occupational therapists remains their desire to help those in...

    (pp. 213-214)
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 215-264)
    (pp. 265-292)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 293-304)