Guest editorial

Dain van der Reyden


Over the last 15 to 20 years, a whole plethora of new models have
been developed to guide occupational therapy practice. These
models – mainly developed outside of South Africa - are all vying
for prominence in our professional domain.
Many readers will be familiar with the tenets of the theory of
creative ability as propounded by Vona du Toit in the 60’ and 70’s,
and may even be familiar with the use of the term ‘Creative Participation’
in keeping with the regional development of the Model.
The proponents of the Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability
(VdTMoCA) felt the need to integrate the many disparate bits
of materials and presentations, and to link this Model to current
research and better position the VdTMoCA amongst the many
practice models currently in our domain and educational curricula.
Driven by a conviction of the value of the VdTMoCA and the realisation
of the dearth of accessible, comprehensive information on
the Model, various researchers and practitioners contributed to the
publication of a textbook on the origins, constructs, principles and
application of this Model – a publication which presents the model
in full for the very first time1.
My involvement in the development of this text made me realise
anew the impact and value of this proudly South African model, and
why we need to vigorously develop this Model to take its rightful
place in the national and international arena and to become a
model of choice. In South Africa, we are fortunate enough to have
the resources necessary to do so, as we have approximately 4000
occupational therapists who are at least familiar with (if not expert
at the application of) the Model, which, by implication, means that
there are many potential mentors. In order to re-position this Model
it is suggested that we need to:
✥ make overt that we are using the Model; which regrettably
is often covert , in everyday practice;
✥ be assertive in demonstrating the benefits and integral value
of the VdTMoCA in service delivery to colleagues and persons
in leadership positions;
✥ study and integrate research done in South Africa and
other countries, especially emerging collaborative research
across countries. We don’t have the luxury of allowing research
to remain unseen and unutilised, gathering dust on the
proverbial shelf;
✥ urgently research the application in the different life stages
and contexts beyond that of illness and disability;
✥ delve deeper into its origins, concepts and constructs;
✥ search out new areas and contexts for application as it
so eloquently formulated by Fasloen Adams in her keynote
address at the 6th ICAN Conference2 where she shared her
research on the application of the Model in community evaluation
and intervention;
✥ we not only need to expand the Model’s application but
also importantly , to delve deeper into its origins, concepts
and constructs;
✥ maximise the use of the VdTMoCA on all platforms;
✥ investigate and define the use of the VdTMoCA by practitioners
other than occupational therapists, including the
training of occupational therapy assistants and other health
care professionals, which will open up training and management
✥ reconfigure our undergraduate training in the VdTMoCA
in this country, as would be appropriate within the parameters
of University Autonomy. That which is currently offered in
South Africa varies greatly between educational institutions
and it seems to be progressively curtailed due largely to the
emergence and credibility of other professional models;
✥ offer courses on the Model through ongoing professional development
courses and dedicated events such as conferences.
I therefore call on my fellow South African colleagues to reconnect
with each other and with the Model; to overtly and actively
implement and apply the constructs, concepts and principles. After
all, the Model has its origins in South Africa and has been firmly
rooted in practice for more than 40 years.
Regrettably many of us as practitioners have, for several reasons,
either incorporated the fundamentals of the theory in our consideration
for intervention, without acknowledging the Model, even
to ourselves, or we have simplified or substituted the terminology
used in the Model with more user-friendly terms to increase accessibility,
to the extent that at times, we become rather reductionist
in our practice.
This appeal is for practitioners to “own” the Model with pride
and to develop and apply it with vigour and effort.
There are several exciting challenges facing us, but it’s also more
basic than that: We need a change of attitude about how we use,
speak about and promote this unique Model. I believe that we, first
and foremost need much collaborative effort and commitment to:
❍ Online training in the VdTMoCA as this would benefit
the Model, assist novices in its use and act as a refresher for
adherents. The United Kingdom has commendably taken the
lead in this.
❍ Nuggets of information are still hidden in dusty boxes and files,
with much valuable information contained in electronic files,
much of which need reviewing and cataloguing.
❍ Underpinning all the above (and hopefully, contributing to its
formation) is the need to grow the user base of the Model
into a dynamic interactive, community of enthusiasts and
adherents of the Model, a few fanatics in the mix will surely
add some impetus.
As a final thought, which has arisen from time to time, it would
seem that we need to constitute a group of super experts from
South Africa and abroad (who probably need to be functioning at
the ‘Contribution’ level of Creative Ability) to more deeply question
the constructs and concepts so carefully formulated, and to drive
the evolution of the Model.
Dain van der Reyden.
A long-standing user of the model
1. Van der Reyden D, Casteleijn D, Sherwood W, & de Witt P. (Eds.).
VdTMoCA - The Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability: Origins,
Constructs, Principles and Application in Occupational Therapy.
Cape Town: Vona & Marié du Toit Foundation, 2019.
2. Adams F. The VdTMoCA: the past, the present and the future.
Dain van der Reyden Keynote Address. Delivered at the 6th ICAN
International Vona du Toit Model of Creative ability Conference
entitled ‘Evidence and Relevance’; 2019.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

CC license
This Open Access journal is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License [CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0]. Under this license, authors agree to make articles available to users, without permission or fees, for any lawful, non- commercial purpose. Users may read, copy, or re-use published content as long as the author and original place of publication are properly cited.