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The Kawa Model
Culturally Relevant Occupational Therapy
Michael Iwama, PhD, MSc, BScOT, BSc
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A landmark publication in occupational therapy and a significant contribution to the rehabilitation theory literature! The Kawa Model presents a new conceptual model of practice that differs from contemporary theories in regard to: origin (East Asia), underlying philosophical base (East Asia), being heavily infused with a natural-ecological, holistic world view, and relational structure. The model is based on the metaphor of nature (a river) that stands for the meanings of life. Because of the familiarity of the metaphor, to both therapists and clients alike, the Kawa Model is relatively easy to comprehend, remarkably simple, yet comprehensive and effective. Unlike other models, it was raised from clinical practice, by practitioners, through a process of qualitative research methods. It is the first conceptual model and substantial theoretical work of occupational therapy from outside of the Western world.
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