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Occupational Therapy (OT) is a rehabilitation profession that focuses on activity. The word “occupation” refers to anything that people do to occupy time. Occupational Therapists (OTs) have a deep understanding of the relationship between health and meaningful activity. Engaging in meaningful activity helps promote healing and wellness, and an individual’s level of wellness can impact their ability to engage in meaningful activity. In short, OTs help people going through life challenges get back to doing the things they want and need to do.

Mental health issues such as eating disorders, addiction, depression, or anxiety can make it difficult to do things. They can make things like eating a meal, getting out of the house, or even just getting out of bed extremely difficult. They can get in the way of activities like work, social gatherings, and valued hobbies and pastimes. OTs can help people manage their destructive thought patterns, feelings, and behaviours so that they are able to work on getting involved in the things in life that are important to them. Concurrently, OTs promote the engagement in meaningful activity as a means of overcoming mental health challenges.

OT can incorporate psychotherapy and treatment paradigms such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Behavioural Activation (BA), exposure therapy, systematic desensitization therapy, and more, depending on what clients are interested in trying. OTs work with clients to “meet them where they’re at” in terms of recovery so that they can set and work on small, manageable goals.

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