So what exactly is Occupational Therapy, and how can it benefit me?
According to the Royal College of Occupational Therapy, OT provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life. “Occupation” as a term refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure”.
What types of problems might OT help with?
An OT would be suited to working with people who are feeling stuck in their lives or struggling to adjust to certain life events. OT’s work with people experiencing a range of mental health problems such as stress, general anxiety, depression or mental health issues brought on by difficulties adjusting to life circumstances. In practice, this might be people who feel like they have lost their confidence or are not realising their full potential. It may also include people wanting to identify problematic cycles of behaviour that are making them feel stuck, with the aim of shifting these patterns.
OT’s have comprehensive training in both physical and mental wellbeing. This means that they have a good understanding about the interplay of these areas in relation to someone’s overall wellbeing. They will routinely integrate this knowledge into support plans which take a holistic approach, meaning that they consider all of the factors that contribute to your overall health.
What can I expect?
You will typically meet for an initial assessment where we will look at all of the things that might be impacting on your health or preventing you from getting to where you would like to be in your life. We will help you to identify workable goals and any barriers that might be getting in the way. Then we will develop a practical plan which supports you to move forward with your goals. Your progress will be reviewed in subsequent sessions and tracked using various measures.
What is the difference between an OT and a psychotherapist?
Therapists are typically trained in one or more therapies which target specific problems or areas. OT’s offer a broader holistic approach, which focuses specifically on the actions that someone can take to improve their lives in that moment. In practice, this means that we would typically spend less time making sense of problems and more time thinking about what could be practically done to overcome them. We often also see people following psychological therapies where someone might want some additional practical support to implement what they have learned.
Interventions tend to be shorter than other therapies and may also incorporate other models which closely align to Occupational Therapy philosophy such as the Recovery model or low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy