Let me ask you a question ― what comes to your mind when you hear the words occupational therapy?
Your initial thoughts could be that it is something related to finding an occupation or a job. Well, you’re close. However, occupational therapy isn’t just helping you with your job. Under the umbrella of occupational therapy, a wide range of health challenges are addressed. It helps people recover from an injury, tackle post-stroke health issues in survivors, social adjustment after experiencing mental health concerns, difficulty with hospital discharge, concussion management, pain management, and community integration. In this article, we’ll explain to you how occupational therapy can help improve quality of life for people and empower them to get back to their working environment as they navigate recovery.
How Does an Occupational Therapist Help with My Recovery?
An important part of recovery is to reintegrate with your environment (e.g. home, community, workplace) in a meaningful way. For some people, it is easier, however, for many it is a difficult road. That’s where an occupational therapist helps you. They help to overcome barriers in the path of recovery and rehabilitation. According to Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) , an occupational therapist:
- Helps individuals discover what they want and need in order to live well
- Explores how your current routines and habits relate to your well-being and your participation in valued activities
- Advocates with you on improving access to the places and spaces where you would do your everyday activities
Overall satisfaction is seen among individuals that seek the help of occupational therapists. An article published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health reported the client perspective within an inpatient psychiatric unit after having therapy sessions. Feedback was collected regarding the benefits of occupational therapy and its impact on recovery. Consumers’ responses indicated that they felt occupational therapy sessions improved their recovery process.
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What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a person-centered health care profession that assists individuals having difficulty performing everyday activities and meaningful work. After recovering from an illness or accident it can become challenging for some people to adapt to their living environment to live life to their full potential. This can include performing daily tasks, doing their job, and interacting with friends and family members. An occupational therapist helps people restore their connection to their environment while optimizing and enhancing their performance.
How Does Occupational Therapy Work?
We are all different in every way. Whether it’s our jobs, our daily routine, or our eating preferences. So, when your life is disrupted by an extraordinary health condition or event, it disturbs the individual’s life. Even after recovery, it could be a very tough journey back. Here comes the role of an occupational therapist that helps you get back to your daily life. They establish key connections between individuals and what is meaningful to them.
Occupational therapists are uniquely equipped with certain techniques and methods that can boost recovery. They analyze a person’s profile and ask about the goals of the individual. They help people achieve their goals by breaking them down into small tasks while keeping in mind the abilities of that person. Now, remember that every individual has different goals as well as different abilities. An occupational therapist keeps in mind this fundamental fact while working with people. They design the activities in a way that makes it easy for individuals to adjust to these tasks.
For example, someone may be unable to perform well in their exams and unable to sit for long hours to study. They feel discouraged by this and can seek consultation of an occupational therapist who will first analyze the person’s abilities and environment. They then design a road map for attaining study goals, keeping in mind the strengths of that person. Then, they will discuss different options including an improvised study plan, memory exercises, and adjustments to the environment. This will help boost the outcomes of this individual in exams.
Starting Your Journey to Recovery
The purpose of treatment and recovery is to enable you to get back to your environment and daily life with full potential. However, this journey is more challenging and tiring for some people. Whether it is us or one of our family members ― finding it difficult to get back to daily life can be a painful experience. An occupational therapist equips people with real-world skills and techniques in therapy to maximize their potential to help them be their best versions. Don’t hesitate to seek the counsel of an occupational therapist if you or your family member is facing challenges in connecting with their environment or are unable to reach full potential.