This model aims to describe the symbiotic relationship between occupation and the brain, as a chaotic, self-organized, and complex system. It assumes that changes in human condition do not follow a linear path. The model views occupational therapy as a complex intervention and a result of dynamic integration of several factors and unpredictable outcomes. The concept of neuro-occupation is complex and holistic, and aims to help occupational therapists to apply the non-linearity principles. Cognition is a process with dynamic relationships between the three levels of Intention, Meaning, and Perception that are operated in a circular feedback loop, which are for adaptation of occupational performance. The three levels are:
1. Intention: a state of readiness that enables one to select and define goal-directed action(s) to fulfil the need and desire.
2. Meaning: the actions that have meaning accumulated from experiences and maintained through one’s history of goal development and goal-directed actions and choices.
3. Perception: Attitudes and Beliefs are shaped, which change perception and awareness of the person about his or her own conditions.
The process begins with hypothesis formulation at the intention level, then the meaning level (hypothesis will be tested by trial and error actions in the environment), then eventually at the perception level (information will be created from the trial and error to modify or form new perceptions). This explains how humans regulate behavior and adapt successfully to challenging environmental conditions and, by creating meaning through engagement in occupations, execute complex occupational performance. Perturbance is any condition that causes circular causality to happen as a response. A person may respond to an internal (i.e. neurological event) or external perturbance (i.e. significant person or perceived important situation). Perturbance causes a person to move from a steady state of homeostasis to the edge of chaos, where dynamical change and adaptation occurs. It is where creativity occurs, and these constraints facilitate new action formation and choice based on circumstances. Several factors, such as experiences, genetics, environment, arousal state, intention state, affect the recognition of perturbance. Occupational therapists use personal creativity and accumulated knowledge of the client, pose an effective perturbance that challenges, motivates, and directs personal goal formation to client, and may influence the client’s perception. An intervention based on what is meaningful to the client may be taken as a perturbance for restoring hope and motivation.