Senior Lecturer, Occupational Therapy


Division: Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Michelle Elliot (PhD, MSc, Diploma in Therapeutic Recreation, BSc) is a Senior Lecturer in the Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies Division. She is also a full member of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences.

I am a certified (Canada) and HCPC registered occupational therapist and occupational scientist. My professional practice work in Canada was primarily with adolescents and adults with eating disorders. Through this work I came to both appreciate and become interested in how people shift from ‘one way of being in life to another’ – whether along a recovery path or more generally, in the daily life journey. My approach to therapeutic work and relational interactions was, and continues to be, expansive and inclusive of different dimensions of occupation.

I take occupation seriously - for its therapeutic potential, its complexity and simplicity, its universality and particularity, its individual meaning and social construction, its developmental capacity and its border crossing possibilities. Occupation is difficult to define, hard to explain, complicated to quantify and collectively understand. My work involves the exploration of occupation beyond alignment to particular life stages or conditions. I believe occupation transcends the ‘doing’ realm and I am curious about many facets that support and contribute to engagement with/in occupation (i.e. spirituality, reflection, perspective (humour), meaning, self, identity, creativity, community, and relationship to spaces and places).

Having lived, worked, studied, travelled and taught in many different cities, provinces and countries, I aspire to keep the transactional and intersubjective nature of occupation central to my ways of thinking, being and doing.

"Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." – Robert Frost

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • HCPC registered (Occupational Therapist)
  • Member: British Association of Occupational Therapists
  • Member: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
  • Member: World Federation of Occupational Therapists

Professional Social Media:

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

My doctoral research opened the door to the exploration of experiences and occupation through a narrative lens, both as methodology (design and analysis) as well as data content. I am continuing to explore the aspects of daily life that interested me in my occupational therapy practice – processes of change and how we construct and represent ourselves accordingly. I am interested in bringing sport further into occupational science and therapy research and practices, moving the focus beyond leisure participation to that of competition and performance.

Active Research Interests:

  • Narrative construction
  • Narrative representations of experience
  • Identity
  • Transition
  • Space/place
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Sport
  • Holistic approaches to human experience (spirituality, humour, mindfulness)

Research Methods:

  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Narrative
  • Ethnography

I teach across all three occupational therapy programmes BSc (pre-registration); MSc (pre-registration) and MSc (post-registration). My teaching derives primarily from occupational science scholarship and critical considerations of occupational therapy practice and theory. I aspire to facilitate learning whereby students develop a familiarity to and comfort with reading, thinking and expressing ideas that are grounded in literature and are then challenged with professional reasoning and context considerations. I believe that knowledge of the self is an important place to begin in a professional training programme. Practical skills are therefore not only what you can do with people, but also how you can be with them (doing therapy and being therapeutic).

I supervise final year dissertations across all levels and also supervise and examine doctoral level projects and research.