Each of us has ever experienced the desire to take a glimpse of the future – the grand, the mystique, the unknown. Surprisingly, certain issues concerning human activities have always been considered the same viewpoint. Although time passes, nothing changes in such cases, which offers a terra incognita for research. Despite the time gap and the change of ideas, such aspect of healthcare as occupational therapy is still considered from the viewpoint that Reilly (1962) adhered to:
Indeed, most of the ideas of the grand thinker proved to be true. Thus, according to Reilly, “In all probability, it will continue to be asked by those who follow us. I am referring to an anxiety about our value as a service to sick people” (65)
Indeed, in the modern world, the concern for sick people and their state of affairs has become increasingly important. Allowing those who have certain mental dysfunctions to help others, one can provide the disabled people the most favorable conditions – they can prove to the disabled that the society needs them, and appreciates their efforts to become its members. To predict such social change in the world, one has to be a magician – or to be Mary Reilly.
However, this is not the only aspect touched upon by Reilly that corresponds to the modern world and its realities. Among the issues that Reilly and the modern healthcare coryphées have the same idea about, one can name the very idea of the place where occupational therapy is going to be developed. As Reilly explained herself, one of the basic arguments for such claim was American social tolerance (67) Considering the main stages of occupational therapy development and t people who had the greatest impact on its evolution, one can claim with certainty that the USA is the state where occupational therapy has been developed and is currently taking the full swing is. Indeed, taking into account the main specifics of the country, together with the emphasis on the care of psychological health, one can confirm that the USA has had the greatest influence on occupational therapy development. Perhaps, such phenomenon is due to the peculiarities of the American national identity, its culture, and key ideas. As Reilly (1962) explains, “Our cultural concept of the man of actions suffers little change when an American moves into a hospital community” (67)
Another peculiar idea that Reilly expressed in her paper was the concern for the twentieth century. The author kept asking herself a question, whether humankind was ready enough for the on-coming change in their lives? Were they ready to face the new idea of the disabled people and their role in society? Hardly anyone could answer these questions then, so many years back, yet nowadays, it is clear that the idea of occupational therapy fits the American mentality like a glove.
Last, but not least, is the aspect concerning the need for occupational therapy. Indeed, what is the use of this practice if that does not heal the disease? That was, perhaps, one of the most complicated issues that humankind has ever had to face. However, the answer that Reilly offered was taken with gratitude to be developed further on in the on-coming era. According to the author (Reilly 1962), “All people need to work, and sick people even more so” (68).
With the ideas of Reilly, the occupational therapy of the XXI century can evolve further on. Helping the others, the sick people will be able to feel happy – isn’t that what humankind has been trying to reach all this time? The wind of change has blown, and it is our task to change its direction.
Reilly, M. (1962) Occupational Therapy Can Be One of the Great Ideas of 20th Century Medicine. Perspectives on Purposeful Activity: Foundation and Future of Occupational Therapy, 16: 65-73