Culture not only assigns a name to occupation through its language, but it also shapes the form it takes and the meaning with which it is imbued. When an individual chooses an occupation, psychological and physical concerns as well as cultural practices, values, and beliefs come into play. Although occupational therapists are trained to be culturally competent, their grasp of the importance of cultural considerations can be enhanced through detailed accounts of the way in which such concerns affect clinical practice. In this paper, I describe in detail my observations of how differences between American and Japanese culture have created tensions in occupational therapy practice in Japan. Further, largely through a case presentation, I illustrate the necessity for incorporating in-depth cultural considerations as a central part of the occupational therapy process. I argue that the study of culture and the production of culture-specific occupational therapy theories will contribute to best practice. I conclude by demonstrating that universal as well as culture-specific theories are needed to nurture occupational therapy.

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