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Your Unique Life Experience through Your Lens: The Kawa Model


Have you ever looked at a river and thought “this river is not flowing fast enough” or “those rocks shouldn’t be there” or “those streams shouldn’t separate and lead into each other?”


I highly doubt it. We look at a river and appreciate it for what it is. Each one is unique, beautiful, and perfect just the way it is.


Your life experience from your viewpoint. That is what I care about most as an occupational therapist. If your life was a river- what would your river look like?



The Kawa Model (Michael Iwama) uses a river as a metaphor. You are the river. Your past, present and future life experience is the flow. This includes your priorities and how you spend your time. What do you wish to do with your life? How do you want to live it?


The driftwood is your personality, special skills, characteristics, values, and beliefs. “Driftwood” can be a resource or get in your way, depending.


The rocks are your challenges and obstacles. What have you been through? What are you going through? Is there anything that you want to do but are unable to? Anything you’re worried about?


The riverbanks are your environment. Physical environment like where you are and social environment like who you spend your time with.


Maybe there is a part of your life that you wish would have more flow. That is fine. Just remember it is the driftwood, rocks and riverbanks that create the flow.



In your river there are channels and spaces where flow can pick up speed. My hope working with you is to use your “driftwood” and adjust your “rocks” so that we can widen the spaces where YOU WISH there was more flow in your life.




Young, young at heart, therapy client, training client. This is how I see you. As a person with a unique life experience that is beautiful and meant to be just as you are.


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