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IVY Integrative / Services / Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Dr. Katherine Lewis

OTD, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

WHAT IS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST?

An Occupational Therapist (OT) is a healthcare professional trained to help people of all ages participate in activities that are meaningful and important to them, despite any physical, mental, or developmental challenges they may face. Occupational therapists work with individuals to assess their abilities, identify barriers to participation, and develop personalized interventions to improve their functional independence and quality of life. This can include self-care, work, education, leisure, and social activities. Their training includes an extensive 2-3 year post-grad program that combines psychology, neuroscience, medical conditions, clinical training, anatomy, and physiology.

Occupational therapists are experts in activity analysis, meaning they can break down tasks into smaller components to understand the skills required and identify where difficulties may arise. They utilize a client-centered approach, collaborating closely with individuals to set meaningful goals and tailor interventions to meet their specific needs and preferences. OTs work across various settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, mental health facilities, and community settings. They may address a wide range of issues including motor skills, sensory processing, cognitive abilities, emotional regulation, and environmental modifications. Their interventions may involve teaching new skills, providing adaptive equipment, modifying environments, and offering strategies to promote independence in daily activities.

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WHAT CAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY DO FOR ME?

Occupational therapy can do a lot for you! Whether you're recovering from an injury, managing a chronic condition, coping with a disability, or simply looking to improve your overall quality of life, occupational therapy offers a range of benefits tailored to your specific needs and goals. Here are some of the things occupational therapy can do for you:

  • Improve daily living skills: Occupational therapists can help you develop or regain the skills needed for activities of daily living, such as participation in self-care, work, education, social participation, leisure activities, and more.

  • Manage chronic conditions: Occupational therapists can work with you to develop strategies for managing chronic conditions. This may include energy conservation techniques, pain management strategies, and lifestyle modifications to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

  • Address mental health challenges: Occupational therapy can be beneficial for individuals dealing with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapists may use techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and stress management strategies to help you cope with symptoms and improve your emotional well-being.

  • Assist with sensory processing issues: If you or your child have difficulties processing sensory information, occupational therapy can provide sensory integration therapy to help regulate sensory input and improve attention, behavior, and overall functioning.

  • Recommend assistive technology and adaptive equipment: Occupational therapists can recommend and assist you in obtaining adaptive equipment and assistive technology to make daily tasks easier and more manageable, such as wheelchairs, splints, or communication devices.

  • Promote participation in meaningful activities: Ultimately, occupational therapy is about helping you participate in the activities that are important and meaningful to you, whether that's returning to work, engaging in hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.

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WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO WORK WITH AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST?

Working with an Occupational Therapist (OT) typically involves a collaborative and personalized approach to address your specific needs and goals. This process consists of:

  • Initial assessment: Your first session with an occupational therapist will likely involve an assessment of your abilities, challenges, and goals. The therapist will ask you about your medical history, daily routines, and any difficulties you're experiencing. They may also conduct standardized tests or observations to evaluate your functional abilities and identify areas for improvement.

  • Goal setting: Based on the assessment, you and your occupational therapist will work together to set specific, measurable, and achievable goals that are meaningful to you. These goals will guide the development of your treatment plan and help track your progress over time.

  • Treatment planning: Once goals are established, your occupational therapist will create a customized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and preferences. This plan may include a variety of interventions such as activities, adaptive strategies, environmental modifications, and education.

  • Education and training: Your occupational therapist will provide you with education and training to help you better understand your condition, learn new techniques or strategies, and make informed decisions about your health and well-being. This may include learning about energy conservation techniques, ergonomic principles, stress management strategies, or techniques for improving attention and focus.

  • Monitoring progress: Throughout the course of therapy, your occupational therapist will regularly monitor your progress toward your goals and adjust your treatment plan as needed. They will provide feedback, encouragement, and support to help you stay motivated and engaged in the therapeutic process.

  • Transition and follow-up: As you make progress toward your goals, your occupational therapist will work with you to develop a plan for transitioning out of therapy and maintaining your gains over time. This may involve providing resources, recommending follow-up appointments, or collaborating with other healthcare professionals or community resources to ensure continuity of care.

Overall, working with an occupational therapist is a dynamic and collaborative process focused on empowering you to overcome challenges, achieve your goals, and lead a more independent and fulfilling life.

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