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What is Occupational Therapy?



"What exactly is occupational therapy, aka OT?


Is it like physical therapy? Is it helping people find jobs?


Well, it could be. But it's way more than that.  I think a better question would be “what isn’t OT?”


The term occupation refers to any meaningful activity that occupies your time. Literally. Anything. Not just your job. Is brushing your teeth meaningful for you? You might not think so... Until you are no longer able to do it, and then all of a sudden brushing your teeth becomes the most important thing in the world to you.


So although an occupation can certainly be your career, we as humans have a lot more going on that just our job! We are complex, multi-factored, and emotional beings with unique roles, habits, routines, values, interests, desires, beliefs, traditions, spiritualities, and cultures. We also have different bodily factors, including the muscular system, the nervous system, and the skeletal system, to name a few. Not to mention the environment. This could involve our physical environment, our social environment, or our virtual environment. And lastly, we all have different occupations! A stay at home mom of toddlers will most likely have very different duties than a traveling business man. Someone who enjoys reading as their main hobby may have different goals than someone who enjoys snowboarding as their main hobby. Like I said, we are complex beings.


Occupational therapists learn the ins and outs of people. People are our specialty.


And if one of the factors mentioned above (plus many more) is inhibiting or limiting a person from performing a meaningful occupation, it is our job to step in. And then we consider all the other factors and tailer treatment accordingly to make it individualized and meaningful. But basically, we provide therapeutic interventions to help people across the lifespan physically, emotionally, and mentally to achieve their highest quality of life. ..."


I liked this description of the role I love. Find the rest of the post here.

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