What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?
An “occupation” is any activity that you participate in (brushing your teeth, going to work/school, playing the piano, etc.). 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.
OT is often grouped with physiotherapy (PT) due to similarities in training, treatment processes, and treatment settings; however, the OT approach to the person is holistic and eclectic; it does not fit neatly into the medical model of health.
Currently, a Masters level of education is required to become an Occupational Therapist.
My Occupational Therapy (OT) Services:
I have been working with big and little people for over 30 years, this includes the roles of childcare provider, autism therapist, respite care provider, occupational therapist (20 years in pediatrics), and integrative health practitioner. I have studied and taught a variety of child development, parenting, and rehabilitation courses. My extensive experience in this field has taught me that both little and big people are truly doing their best, with what they know, feel, and are capable of, at any given moment. I learned that the little child in each of us needs to feel content and whole: to be seen, to be understood and to belong.
The focus of my practice is on mental health and wellness promotion at all ages. My work has been influenced by: Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Thomas Verny, Dan Siegel, Richard Schwartz, Kim Barthel, Doc Childre, Jack Kornfield, and Thich Nhat Hanh, among others. I am a trauma informed and Internal Family Systems practitioner.
My Therapeutic Approach involves:
- learning about what is important and meaningful to you
- listening to your unique story of how you came to be
- learning about your individual stress response system and how it communicates
- exploring stressful imprints that are stored in your brain, body, mind and spirit and how these impact your day to day functioning in the present
- facilitating recovery and healing from the stress of past or present experiences
- practicing new ways to be calm and focused, in present time
- discovering ways to engage in daily life activities with more function, purpose and ease
Treatment Modalities are chosen specific to your needs, and may include:
- therapeutic play (for children)
- mindfulness and/or sensory awareness activities
- guided visualizations (customized for individual clients)
- inner child & soul work
- therapeutic use of self (providing a calm, compassionate, non-judgmental presence)