Creating Systems Change

I’ve been sitting on an idea for a while now, held back by my own internal narrative that it ‘just won’t happen’. But I’m putting that thought aside for this moment in time that I wrote this post, from me to you. As occupational therapists we entered the profession to create meaningful change. We entered this profession because we deeply care about other people and helping their everyday lives flow better. However, many of us feel held back by systems that govern the way that we truly want to work, and the way that we know is the right way to work. We feel hemmed in, stifled and stuck. We feel like giving up, giving in, and even walking away from the profession because we are no longer practicing in a way that is in alignment with our own deeply held values and internal moral compass. 

The thing is, systems are created by people. And we are part of the system; whether that be the healthcare system, the education system or any other system. If we continue to show up and practice in ways that reinforce the status quo, positive change and progress will not occur. As occupational therapists we stand for occupational justice and doing whats morally right. 

When I look around, and if I am to zoom in on the education system, I see behaviour management systems punishing children by taking away their outdoor lunchtime for their ‘challenging’ behaviours, rewards based systems for completing (or not completing) homework, shame and embaressment triggered by handing out yellow and red cards for talking in the classroom or not ‘paying attention’, time outs on the red chair in the corner for speaking inappropriately. The systems are broken. And as a parent, professional and person who actually gives a shit, this breaks my heart. And sometimes in these moments of despair, we feel helpless……and sometimes we decide to make change. 

So here I am, stepping into the unknown, but ready to pave a new way forward with those who also care. 

Change doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t happen over night or with one person. Change is created through the collective, through varied and diverse perspectives, skills and talents and through people who care enough to invest their time and energy to make a difference and leave a legacy to enable human flourishing. 


I am putting this ‘out there’ to see if you are passionate about and committed to creating change in a certain system? If we find we have enough heart-led therapists dedicated to a certain issue, we can band together to take action and strive in pursuit of what we know is morally right and just. When we all work together and work to our own strengths; doing what comes naturally and easy to us, we will create momentum that we could never do on our own. 

Here’s to not just talking about it and wishing things were different. Here’s to actually doing something about it, because thats what we do. We’re occupational therapists after all. 

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I'm Rhiannon Crispe

Occupational therapist, personal trainer and mindset coach here to help you live out your OT dream. Let’s do it!