Monday, April 11, 2011

OT A to Z: I is for Interests

Our OT "I" word is interests! As children, interests tend to convey things they are attracted to doing. One only has to spend time with an enthusiastic kid, and hear him or her talk about how they "want to" play a certain sport, or dance, or fly an airplane, or take care of animals. As adults, our interests may reflect our skills, or they may be ways we continue to develop new skills. Interests are often the things we are excited about doing, the things we look most forward to doing in our days, the things that are meaningful to us. Most of us have no shortage of interests, but the ability to pursue our interests - especially as adults - tend to be limited by our resources such as time.

As OTs, interests are something that are considered in the assessment process, as part of the occupational profile. Understanding the interests of a client can help help determine goals of a client, things that may motivate the client, or activities to use in order to achieve a therapeutic goal.

In thinking about interests...
  • Have your interests remained stable over the course of your life, or have they changed?
  • What barriers exist in the pursuit of your interests?
  • If time (or money) weren't a consideration, is there something that interests you that you would like to pursue?


  1. It is great how when you are a kid you can become anything. Really interesting point about interests being linked to skills, it is really hard when you aren't as good as you'd like to be at something.
    Take writing, for example, because that's what I'd love to do if time and money weren't issues, a lot of it depends on the purpose behind the interest. If I just do something for me I tend to like it but if I do it to share I worry about people liking it, but do I then put more effort in? Getting negative feedback (whether that's internal or external) on something can really knock your confidence and make you lose interest in engagement.

  2. Great post! Really like how you described interests.

    When thinking about whether interests have remained stable, I realised that the majority of my interests(/hobbies) have been shelved so that I can fully pursue one. Not so balanced really. But apart from time/capacity, money is a big barrier (influenced by my goal to leave university debt-free).

    If time/money were no object I would spend my days scrapbooking, reading, walking, dancing and exercising. Hopefully quite achievable in the not-too-distance future. In slightly more blue-sky mode, would like to travel more.

  3. @Clarissa - you are right in that our ability to pursue our interests is often directed by the other roles and activities in our lives. The student role is a big time and money commitment!

    @Kirsty - Understanding the purpose behind the interest and the opinions of others do matter - even when we wished they didn't!

    And our skills certainly have an impact on our interests! Personally, I have always loved music and was fortunate to have music lessons as a child. Despite lessons, no real skill appeared to emerge. I even attempted music lessons again after OT school. For as much as I love music, I finally realized that my interest in music would have to be satisfied through my listening and appreciation of it (I try to attend lectures offered by our city's symphony conductor), rather than actually creating it!