What is an Occupational Therapist (OT)?
Occupational Therapy is a health profession that focuses on promoting independence and optimal functioning in a person’s chosen environment. Occupational Therapists (OTs) are registered by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and can provide treatment across the physical and mental health spectrum. Most OTs will choose to specialise in a specific area in order to develop a high level of knowledge and skill. Mental health occupational therapy is one area of specialisation. All OTs at The Psychological Health Centre have completed post graduate studies and have chosen to specialise in mental health occupational therapy.
What does a mental health occupational therapist do?
When an OT chooses to specialise in mental health they develop their knowledge of psychological disorders and treatment approaches in addition to the foundation of occupational therapy.
Mental health OTs are interested in helping people to identify and clarify their current areas of difficulty and then develop a plan to consolidate current skills and knowledge as well as to build the skills needed to function more effectively in daily life. This plan includes:
- assessment of current difficulties
- education and training in needed skills such as
- interpersonal communication
- stress management
- daily living skills (home care, budgeting, meal planning)
- relaxation training
- sensory regulation
- managing emotions
- support to build habits and routines that improve function
Mental health OTs often work as part of multi-disciplinary teams with nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Mental health OTs can provide skills training to clients to support the work they are doing with other health professionals.