Since we'll be talking about the role of Occupational Therapy in mental health promotion, I wanted to briefly introduce you to occupational science.
This blog was written by guest blogger Owen Swerts, a true occupational therapist specialized in the area of neuropsychiatry.
"It’s only been a year since I graduated as an occupational therapist. A title I carry with pride and will be glad to elaborate on when you find that the sheer uttering of the words themselves raise more than a few eyebrows.
So what is occupational therapy anyway?
Occupational therapy is also known as “ergotherapie” in a multitude of languages. “Ergo” refers to the Greek word for ‘work’, but also other terms and concepts such as “doing”. Occupational therapy has a profound theoretical foundation, which may surprise some of you.
We OT’s look at the human being as a whole of physical, sensory, emotional, psychological and social components that constantly interact with each other and in conjunction within a context. This can be a physical environment, but may also have a societal connotation. For instance, you might be doing your groceries at your local store, or you have to climb a stairway in a renowned museum. There might be other people there. There might be certain lighting, background noise, and you might be communicating with other actors.
To do or not to do
What makes our views on healthcare distinct from other professions is that all of our goals are intended to enable a human person to “do” again. People do all sorts of things, really. Work, leisure activities, taking care of oneself, managing your household, doing things in a group of people, etc.
Enabling people to live their life
After we discussed what it is you’re having problems with doing, or what you’d like to see get better, we break up what it is you do into little segments. After analyzing that, we pinpoint what factors could be culprits in any kind of distortion in daily functioning. Next, we figure out a way for you to do the things you love and make you feel your life is worthwhile. This entire process is something we will do together with you as a person asking for help.
Time to raise the profile of occupational therapists
As OTs we definitely look for ways to make our clients feel meaningful. How? By making them feel/ making them able to do things they ascribe substantial value to. We don’t seek to “cure” anyone of their disorder, rather to let them live with it if no cure is available or not an option the client is willing to choose. You’d be surprised to find how much of an impact “doing” different activities (occupations) has on our everyday lives. It’s the very essence of being human. So watch out for us OT’s, you might know someone in your vicinity very soon as we’re taking the world by storm. And it’s about time we do so!"
This blog was written by Owen Swerts, occupational therapist specialized in the area of neuropsychiatry.