Client-centred practice in Scandinavian contexts: A critical discourse analysis

Julie Katrine Karstensen*, Hanne Kaae Kristensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: The concept of client-centred practice is an essential element of occupational therapy (OT), but there is a lack of a clear and shared definition of the concept in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark). This may complicate the articulation, discussion, development and implementation of client-centredness in OT practices. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate and discuss current understandings of client-centred practice in Scandinavian contexts. Material and method: The study was based on a social constructivist research approach in which Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis was applied. The analysis was based on six documents published in Scandinavian OT journals and four documents published in Scandinavian Journal of OT. Results: In Scandinavian contexts, the concept of client-centred practice was articulated in three overall discourses: a client, collaborative and practice discourse. The practice discourse was the most prominent and the source of the other discourses. Conclusions and significance: Occupational therapists (OTs) in the Scandinavian countries have conceptual understandings of client-centred practice that potentially provide the basis for knowledge sharing and collaboration between OT communities. However, the study also found that client-centred practice may not yet be firmly established in all OT practices in Scandinavia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)46-62
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Patient-centred care
  • discourses
  • occupational therapy
  • professional practice


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