ABOUT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND MENTAL HEALTH
Occupational therapy is a health profession that focuses on helping people to solve the problems that prevent them from participating in their everyday activities. Occupational therapists (OTs) refer to these everyday activities as "occupations". Someone's occupations may be anything from grocery shopping to visiting a friend, going to work, playing a sport, or walking the dog.
When there are limitations to participating in life's activities due to illness, injury, or disability, OTs may teach skills and suggest modifications and strategies to help people do what they need and want to do. Building on a person's interests, strengths, and priorities, OTs help people to find real-life solutions that emphasize participating in activities and trying out suggestions.
For example, an OT may teach a client how to plan and organize, and how to use relaxation techniques so that trips to the grocery store and meal preparation are more efficient and less stressful. An OT may also visit the grocery store with the client to offer support and to guide them in practicing new skills and strategies. OTs approach mental health issues with a unique, holistic perspective that considers how a person functions mentally and physically within the context of their home, family, cultural, and community environments.
I have been an OT registered and licensed with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario for 11 years. While I have worked with clients with a range of disabilities, illnesses, and injuries, the majority of my career has been in providing assessment and therapy to individuals with mental health issues. I have delivered individual and group-based therapy to youth and adults in inpatient and outpatient hospital programs, private clinics, and community settings. I have always worked in teams of other professionals and believe that this can only enhance clients' progress. My approach to client care is bio-psycho-social and client-centred-- meaning that I consider the many factors influencing a person's health and I support the client to direct their care.
I set up my private practice five years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed supporting my clients in their journeys towards more satisfying participation in life's activities. Being an OT is ingrained into every aspect of my life and I make an effort every day to practice what I recommend to clients. This means that I try to balance work with home life, integrate mindfulness into my daily activities, and do things that are meaningful to me, such as get outside in nature for walks, and keep up with my yoga and fitness.
I received a Masters degree in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto in 2008. I have training in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based approaches, and participate in on-going professional development in topic areas, including adult, child, and youth mental health, trauma, sleep, and chronic pain. I am also trained in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, a treatment modality involving horses.
Out of commitment to my profession, I am a Quality Assurance sub-committee member with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) and I belong to a membership community of occupational therapists through the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and other professional practice groups.