The occupational therapist’s task is to discover the individual as an occupational being, in terms of occupational identity (roles, interests, values, aspirations) gathering an occupational history, confirming their current level of creative ability and considering future potential. This includes identifying the person’s motivation and action, (occupational performance).

Assessment identifies what the individual has volition and is motivated towards, the behaviors and skills that they have and is motivated towards developing, and the influence of the environment. This is identified within the four occupational performance areas: personal management, work ability (ability to effectively carry out life roles, and includes identification of whether a person has the ability to work), social ability and constructive use of free time.

Assessment also identifies the phase of the level, indicating how far through the level the person has progressed - this is helpful for knowing how much input the therapist needs to provide in order to enable the person to participate in activity and occupation. 

To effectively assess and provide intervention, requires knowledge and skills for undertaking a holistic, detailed analysis of the person in relation to the environment. It is necessary to receive training in order to understand the components of creative ability, how they relate to each other and manifest in the different levels of creative ability.

Observation is a key assessment method, because you are looking for motivation and skills and behaviours that indicate the level of creative ability.  The therapist is observing to assess the components of creative ability evidenced in the person’s actions in relation to the occupational performance areas. Because observation is such a powerful mode of assessment, assessing an individual's level of creative ability can begin as soon as you meet the individual. 

The components of creative ability are: 

  • Volition 
  • Motivation 
  • Relate to and handle tools and materials
  • Relate to and handle people
  • Relate to and handle situations
  • Task concept
  • Concept formation 
  • Norm awareness and compliance 
  • Range of emotions and control (including anxiety) 
  • Initiative 
  • Effort

The components of creative ability all influence each other and result in the behaviour, the quality of the end product and the degree of supervision and assistance needed by the individual. 

The therapist must also observe the individual in a range of situations completing both familiar and unfamiliar tasks. Task assessments are more formal situations when the therapist carefully selects a task for the individual to undertake. Careful consideration is given to the possible level of creative ability to ensure the task is challenging enough to assess the individual's capabilities however not too easy to potentially mask the true level of creative ability. 

Undertaking unfamiliar tasks demands higher degrees of effort, occupational performance and managing anxiety levels. It is important whilst the task should be unfamiliar it should be in line with the individual's interests to spark motivation to engage. 

The therapist should have a good understanding of the VdTMoCA to be able to assess an individual's level of creative ability. It is strongly recommended to refer to the reading list below to begin to build your knowledge of the levels, the components of creative ability and the assessment process. 

Creative Participation Assessment

The Creative Participation Assessment tool (CPA) was developed by Dain van der Reyden, a South African occupational therapist, and colleagues.

The CPA tool consists of short descriptors as prompts regarding an aspect of creative ability. It is presented in a table format with descriptors of different aspects of creative ability manifested at each level of creative ability. The CPA is not an assessment in itself, but a tool for recording and analyzing assessment findings in order to identify an individual’s level of creative ability and clinically reason how the components of creative ability are influencing an individual’s performance.

For further information on the use of the CPA and the VdTMoCAF (UK) Position statement please click here.


Recommended reading list 

De Witt, P. A. (2014) Occupational Therapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health (5th ed). West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell Publishers..

Du Toit, V. (2015). Patient Volition and Action in Occupational Therapy (5th ed.). Pretoria: Vona and   Marié du Toit Foundation.

Van der Reyden, D, Casteleijn, D, Sherwood, W and de Witt, P. (2019) The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability: Origins, Constructs, Principles and Application in Occupational Therapy. Pretoria: The Marie and Vona du Toit Foundation.


Featured News
Featured Products
Most Active Posts
  • Feb 09, 2020 by Tori

    Opportunities for networking

    In terms of ideas for the new website, does anyone have any ideas around creating opportunities for networking - particularly around interacting with clinicians working within a similar field of practice. We have opportunities for those within forensic services through the Special Interest Group (SIG) - however, I am just mindful of clinicians working other areas, or perhaps those working in isolation. 

    How could we create opportunities to interact remotely? 

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

    8 replies
    Read more
  • Mar 25, 2020 by Tori


     Hi Lou, 
    Thank you for creating this discussion. Within the high/medium/low secure hospitals I work in, we have at present ceased all off ward activity and stopped all Section 17 Leave – which I imagine will cause frustration for those who have progressed to lengthy periods of either escorted/unescorted period of leave from the service. We have developed programmes that can be delivered at ward level, whilst still maintaining the principles of social distancing. I think the focus across all services at the moment is supporting the ward staff and maintaining some consistency for the service users.  We have circulated "easy read" documents for service users around information on COVID-19, detailing information on how to keep themselves safe and well, hygiene procedures and information to reduced anxiety. The staff have also distributed resources to promote ideas around self directed activities and visual materials around keeping occupied and engaged in meaningful activity whilst self isolating. In the MSU, the Therapy Staff have developed resources to be used on the wards to support service users in keeping busy and have completed a revised interest checklist document. 

     We have also circulated easy read letters to the patients to notify them of any treatment groups that have had to be postponed to help manage their expectations and reduce anxiety. 

     At the moment, everything seems to be changing frequently and there is a lot of uncertainty. However, it has been positive to see how supportive, creative, flexible and committed staff have been during this time. 

    1 reply
    Read more