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What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy has a wide range of applications. It is frequently employed to tackle depression, encourage exercise and even promote independence in patients with mental, physical or emotional obstacles to overcome. Learn more about the process of occupational therapy, how it has helped so many people and the issues that it faces as a field.


Promotes health Occupational therapy is a broad term, and has a wide range of applications. Generally speaking, it promotes health by enabling people to perform meaningful tasks. An occupational therapist’s duties is vast, so experts tend to specialise in one (or more) aspects of treatment. Work, leisure and self-care are all relevant to occupational therapy. Patients may be mentally, physically or emotionally inhibited from completing any associated task, and an occupational therapist aims to restore that ability. This could include helping to overcome depression, encouraging regular exercise following an operation, or even enabling mental patients to develop their independence. Humane mental treatment To counter such a broad range of issues, occupational therapy draws from many fields, including medicine, psychology and anthropology. Examples of occupational therapy can be traced for thousands of years. Many ancient Greek physicians attempted to combat mental illness using therapeutic massage, exercise and music. However, examples of humane mental treatment are rare in history.

Further information

Environmental variables
The requirements for occupational therapy are entirely dependant on circumstances. Different environments have different primary issues, and modern day occupational therapy differs enormously from that of 20 years ago. Environmental variables, which may influence patients, include population density, technological advancements, employment opportunities and even the weather. The ever-changing duties of an occupational therapist make the field difficult to define. This is especially true since there exists no international standard for a patient requiring occupational therapy. The needs of individuals are simply too dependant on background. Ongoing assessment Ongoing assessment is an essential aspect of occupational therapy. Without long-term guidance, patients commonly revert back to their previous situation, once again inhibited from completing necessary tasks. Definitive goals are often useful, encouraging the patient to achieve beyond their therapy sessions and to give perspective on the progress made. Experienced therapists will quickly establish a patient’s strength, and accentuate them to improve the overall quality of life.

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