Posted by: otstoryteller | December 21, 2014


Habit is an area of focus within occupational therapy. It forms a subset of the Model of Human Occupation and is found within other models of practice, as well as our Occupational Therapy Practice Framework. Kielhofner wrote about habits in 1982; and in 2011 there was a blogpost on habits by , in which she cited an AJOT article that addressed habits (from 2005). Historically, occupational therapists’ intervention early in the 1900s was referred to as Habit Training. Yet apparently, there is little current published attention to habit (at least according to a quick Google search). Is this becoming one more of “our” domains that is being commandeered by others? Or, has occupational therapy merely adopted a public domain as one of its own?

‘Internet Evidence’ from a variety of popular sources has it that habit formation takes approximately 21-30 days. Some claim this duration to develop a new habit (with another 30 days to reinforce it). But this is disputed. James Clear, a blogger I recently stumbled across, has a small book and a blogpost on this topic that makes sense. I appreciate his work/searching in this area. I am just disappointed that he is not an occupational therapist sharing this with the world.

My seeking information on habits was reinforced recently by prompts a question about what is required to break/change an existing habit. According to Clear, it involves a system that will replace the old habit – that one cannot just break a habit – it leaves a vacuum.  This makes total sense, especially to an OT. The task becomes finding the right replacement.

If there are any budding pre-PhD/OTD readers stopping by, it might be beneficial to investigate this area as a potential focus of research.


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