The River had a fountain

Of sparkling water

Gushing at speed

Glistening in the bright sunlight


I could hardly believe it

Going from an occupational therapy helper

to a finally qualified therapist

With a Degree

It was a spurt of energy never experienced before

There were rocks

The hidden ones were the worst

Sad to say

some of the senior occupational therapists

It was a really strange experience

I felt unconnected


in the maelstrom of uncertain times

I had returned to my original place of work

where I had been a support worker

I had changed

The relationships were strained

I felt alienated

The old psychiatric hospital was closing

I read that going back to your old place of work 

may not work out….

but I had signed 

a contract

I had no choice

Leaving the hospital as it closed gave me driftwood

to clamber aboard

A new half time post

Working in the community

where my half time role was valued

there was a brilliant manager

who quietly & robustly supported me

Carefully negotiating new streams

Finding diffrent modes of swimming

Occasionally gasping for breath

I had worked with many people in the old hospital

but this was new

The rocks were sharp and painful at times

leaving deep sadness for a long time…..

but the driftwood picked me up

the rehabilitation unit was a brilliant slow stream service

Catherine McNulty

Inspired in part by The KAWA (river) model Michale K. Iwama (2005)


Iwama M. (2005) The Kawa (river) model. (pg.213-227). In Kronenberg F, Algado SS, Pollard N. Eds Occupational Therapy without borders: Learning from the spirit of survivors. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. Edinburgh.