Defining Occupational Therapy Once and for All

Tue, April 17, 2012

Person: “What do you do for a living?”

Me: “I am an Occupational Therapist.”

Person: “Oh … you help people get jobs?” or “That is basically a Physical Therapist right?” or “Can I get a massage?”


This conversation plays out more frequently than I would prefer to admit. So, because April is Occupational Therapy Month, I am celebrating with a clarification of what OT is and what we do here at the Center for Specialty Therapy. I can think of no better way to explain OT than through the words of our clients:

Does it make sense now? Occupational Therapy is the profession that makes it possible to complete physical exercise, make coffee, help brush teeth, work on feeding, teach money management, apply makeup, and train individuals to operate a computer. Well … that is a pretty good summary!

We are holistic people. We evaluate and address how a person’s environment, cognitive, psychosocial, and physical skills affect their ability to participate in meaningful roles or occupations, i.e. the things you need to and love to do for a healthy and happy life!
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists provides the following summary: "Occupational therapy is as a profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through engagement in occupation."

The American Occupational Therapy Association describes our profession as "a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent -- or live better with -— injury, illness, or disability."