- What’s the difference between your OT services and your Integrative Health Services?
Funding: OT services might be covered by your health insurance. OT is considered a medical expense by the CRA, so receipts may be submitted on your tax return. Integrative Health Services are not covered by insurance, nor are they eligible as expenses by the CRA.
Location: OT services are only offered for residents of Ontario, as I am registered to practice in Ontario only. Integrative Health services are offered virtually worldwide.
Assessment: OT assessment consists of an interview and clinical observations. Integrative Health assessment includes intuitive/soul-directed information. Integrative Health assessments are faster; therefore, treatment almost aways begins during the first session.
Treatment modalities: OT treatment modalities are primarily research/evidence-based. Integrative Health treatments include energy medicine, which is in the early stages of research using scientific inquiry (see Dr. Shamini Jain or Dr. Lissa Rankin).
Both services require intake and consent forms to be completed before the first session.
- Are you a psychotherapist?
No. Although OTs are licensed to be able to provide psychotherapy, I don’t see myself as a psychotherapist. The definition of psychotherapy is : “Treatment of mental, emotional, personality, and behavioral disorders using methods such as discussion, listening, and counseling. Also called talk therapy.” First, I don’t see people as having “disorders,” I see them as having thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviours that reflect their nervous system state, their stored trauma, and conflicts between different parts of themselves. All these parts are actually valuable and “good,” despite the imbalance and chaos that they might unintentionally create. Second, I use activities and therapeutic modalities that are not merely “talking,” as we can only talk about what we are conscious of, but it is often what is unconscious to us that is shaping our current experience. I’ve found that talk therapy is helpful in understanding a problem and changing our mindset; however, can be limited in calming the nervous system, in healing the discomfort of the body, or in lifting the exhaustion of the spirit. We need to address the whole person, including their ancestral and prenatal history, not just the mind and current life situation. We also need to consider that people may be experiencing life in different dimensions; therefore their perceptions may not match our Earth reality. This does not mean they have a disorder; it usually means the pain of living in this earthly dimension is too much, and shifting their perceptions to another dimension is a coping strategy. People who are diagnosed with serious mental health conditions are almost always victims of trauma.
- How many sessions do I (or does my child) need?
It depends. I know that’s not the answer you want to hear! I have had clients meet their goals in a single session, others I have seen more than once for a certain period, and others come back every now and then. There is no “recipe” or “treatment protocol” because people are unique, with their own pathways of healing, and they are experiencing life’s expected and unexpected challenges in their own unique ways.
In terms of some general guidelines:
- I typically don’t see the same client more than once a week to allow time for the physical body to adjust to the changes from the previous session.
- The amount of time the client has been suffering with some issue does not necessarily mean that more sessions will be needed.
- Most of the time I don’t recommend a time frame within which clients “should” come back. Instead, I encourage them to listen to their own wisdom around the timing of sessions. There are some exceptions: Feeding therapy clients who are following a specific treatment protocol may require weekly sessions, as per protocol, for a 6-8 week period.
- How can my thoughts, feelings, and past experiences affect my physical body?
Thoughts, feelings and memories are powerful forms of energy. They shift your body physically into either a state of survival (feeling threatened) or a into state of wellness (feeling safe and calm). If you feel threatened (i.e., stressed), your body responds with increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased respiration, dilated pupils, slowed digestive functioning, increased blood flow to the extremities, increased release of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Our bodies store these stressful experiences in the brain (as memories), in the body (as cellular memories), and in the energetic body. Our life force energy flow is disturbed. Chronic stress is linked to the most common causes of death including heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases. This is because the body perceives psychological stress as a threat, which triggers a cascade of inflammation in the body, affecting the gut, the immune system, and the brain. Just like physical stress can damage the body via accident or physical trauma, emotional strain can damage the body from the inside out through chronic inflammation.
Occupational Therapy Questions
- What is Occupational Therapy (OT) and what does an occupational therapist (OT) do?
An “occupation” is any activity that occupies your time, such as brushing your teeth, going to work/school, playing with your cat). Occupational Therapy (OT) aims to improve participation in life’s activities, despite various limitations (physical, mental, social, cultural, or institutional). “Occupational therapists (OTs) help people to:
- learn new ways of doing things
- regain skills and develop new ones
- use materials or equipment that makes life easier, or
- adapt their environment to work better for them.
These solutions help people to do as much as they can – safely and effectively – at home, at school, at work or in other settings.” ~College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario~
The origins of OT are in mental health, “healing stress and soothing the mind.” Today, only a minority of Occupational Therapists (OTs) work in mental health, with the majority of therapists working in physical rehabilitation settings.
- What is the process if I decide to become an OT client?
Your first session will be an Assessment, where I will interview you. 90 minutes are reserved for this first appointment. You will be required to complete some intake and consent forms before this session occurs. Using all of the information you provide, I will recommend direct treatment, consultation, refer you to another practitioner when appropriate, or discharge you if no treatment is needed. If treatment is required, I will discuss a treatment plan with you, and if you consent, we will proceed with treatment sessions. Note: Children do not attend the first session. It is difficult for children to hear their parent(s) talk about their challenges in their presence. It is easier for parents to concentrate and be insightful when they do not need to attend to their children at the same time. I am able to gain sufficient information from the initial assessment as to make a recommendation for next steps.
- I’ve already had OT for my child – how are you different?
Most pediatric OTs focus primarily on skill building (“doing more”), which I also did for many years when employed by children’s treatment centres. My approach now is more holistic in that my priority focus is on supporting a child to FEEL BETTER, which in turn enables them to DO BETTER. Once children feel better, they can learn new ways of being and doing. Since learning and growth are negatively affected by stress, I look at all the possibilities of stressful imprints from the very beginning of life, as birth psychology teaches us that the circumstances under which we are conceived, carried, and birthed deeply and profoundly affect us. I work with children of all ages, including those unborn, to promote mental health and emotional resilience, or to recover from stressful experiences stored in their mind, body or spirit. I look at a bigger picture of the child’s life (how are they eating, sleeping, what is happening in the home/school, etc.) and not only at the issue at hand (e.g., poor attention). I have a large network of practitioners to collaborate with to support whole child wellness. I also firmly believe that the solutions for children’s issues are found within them, not in me. I may have many ideas, but children and their parents are the experts…and I honour and respect their wise contributions to the therapeutic process. We discover and create change together.
- Can I stay in the room with my child if you need to work directly with him/her in future sessions? What would a session be like?
Parents can be a great source of comfort for many children. In this case, parents are most welcome to stay. If there is stress within the family, some children benefit from having a private session with me so they have an opportunity to fully express themselves. I am flexible to whatever works for each individual child.
A session with a child might look like I’m “just” playing and hanging out with your child. What is actually happening is that I am tuning in to your child’s needs, feelings, thoughts, actions and worldview. It is from this place of deep understanding that we can address the issue(s) at hand. If parents are present, sometimes I will ask them to take part in some aspect of the treatment.
Integrative Health Services Questions
- What is this “energy” that you work with using energy medicine?
Everything in the world is made up of energy, particles of information (“bits”) that are moving or vibrating. Everything, whether it be something something we hear (a doorbell), or something we see (a tree), or something that we can’t see (an emotion, a thought) — each thing has its own unique energetic vibration.
There are some “bits” of energy are vibrating either too low or too high in frequency to be easily measured by the 5 basic senses and the traditional scientific method of inquiry. If we consider these elusive energies as those that travel faster than the speed of light and transcend space and time, we enter into the realm of quantum physics.
When we consider the human body in terms of energy, we have the visible and measurable:
- physical: cells and tissues that make up bones, muscles, organs, blood, etc.
- electrical: measured by medical tools such as the electroencephalogram (EEG) and the electrocardiogram (ECG) which measure the electrical activity of the brain and heart
We also have an invisible and harder to measure energy, the life force energy. This is the vital energy that lives in every part of us, extends past our physical bodies, and transcends time and space. This energy is measured by magnetic devices (e.g., SQUID magnetometer) and by intuition. This is the focus of energy medicine.
- How do you treat someone over the phone or at a distance? Does it still work?
I am working with the energetic body. The energetic body exists both within and outside of the physical body, transcending time and space. The treatment is not “watered down” or any less effective than an in-person session. It is often easier for me to work intuitively at a distance, as I am less distracted by physical elements.
- Are you a healer?
It depends how you define healing. If healing means an instant cure that happens by some magical act by a “healer,” then I am not a healer! If you view healing as the process of becoming whole, then maybe I am a healing “helper.” The true healer is the person seeking change. I use the title “Integrative Health Practitioner” rather than “Energy Healer” as I consider all aspects of the person: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and energetic. I am like a giant flashlight–I can bring into awareness aspects of the person and offer treatment modalities that the person may not have previously seen or considered relevant to his/her health. I practice compassionate and non-judgmental presence in which clients can access their unique path to healing themselves (see Arthur’s story, for example). Often clients report that energy work feels “magical.” This might be because we are working with the “invisible” energetic body, yet they are feeling tangible changes in their physical bodies or powerful shifts in their conscious awareness that defy the laws of physical existence or logical understanding. It might also be because the client has been struggling for many, many years with a problem, that to feel such a big shift in one session seems rather miraculous. The body has great wisdom in healing itself if we can uncover and trust it.