Document Type (Journals)



Reflective practice is considered a highly valued graduate attribute in the field of occupational therapy. Occupational therapy educators influence and shape how students develop into reflective practitioners. Reflective practice requires a set of complex thinking skills that are typically focused on personal experiences and can be broken down into pre-requisite skills that aid in the teaching and learning process. This article introduces a six component Permissions model used with graduate level students during their first semester that combines experiential learning and pre-requisite skills of reflective practice. The model includes three broad domains: self-awareness, observation, and effective communication and six pre-requisite skills including: a) permission to slow down when necessary; b) permission for tolerating ambiguity; c) permission to notice, think, and ponder; d) permission to speak up; e) permission to listen with careful consideration of other’s thinking; and f) permission to respectfully build or challenge the ideas of others based on visual evidence. Using experiential learning methodologies of Lego Serious Play and Visual Thinking Strategies, faculty actively and explicitly teach the Permission model skills while simultaneously helping students to see the relevancy and transferability of the pre-skills to more advanced professional skills.


Mary Anne Peabody, Ed.D., LCSW, RPT-S is the Chair and Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is a practitioner-scholar, working interprofessionally with Occupational Therapy educators. She has conducted Reflective Practice research with occupational therapy graduate students using object-mediated methodologies and is a certified LEGO Serious Play facilitator.

Susan Noyes, PhD, OTR/L is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy. She has a keen interest in art as part of occupational therapy education, and has trained in Visual Thinking Strategies facilitation in order to use it in her Reflective Practitioner course with first year occupational therapy students.

Mary Anderson, OTD, OTR/L is the current Director and Assistant Professor of the Occupational Therapy Entry Level Doctorate Program and Community Clinic Founder/Coordinator at the University of Southern Maine. Experiential learning is deeply embedded in Dr. Anderson’s andragogy where she combines this with reflection throughout practice courses.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.