The Kawa ‘River’ Model: Enhances Occupational Therapy and Communication in a UK Mental Health Setting
Author: Beki Dellow . Occupational Therapist . Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust . firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction: ‘Life is like a river’
The Kawa (‘river’ in Japanese) Model uses the metaphor of a river to describe a person’s life journey. It enables them to describe their personal life story and current difficulties that are significant using a familiar metaphor that others can easily understand and relate to.
Four basic concepts:
a.Life flow and well-being = river water b.Environmental factors (e.g. physical, social, cultural) = river sides and riverbed c.Life circumstances and problems/challenges = rocks/obstacles d.Personal factors and resources (e.g. strengths and barriers) = driftwood. Each person’s experience of daily life is unique and should be the context that occupational therapy should be adapted and delivered. The aim is to enable people from all streams of life to engage and participate in occupations and processes that have personal value (Iwama 2005; Iwama 2006).