When it comes to Mental Health Occupational Therapy, many perceive the therapist as doing “psychology plus a bit more”.
This is certainly accurate in many ways, as Mental Health Occupational Therapists (MHOTs) do share many skills and approaches with Psychologists. This includes utilising treatments such as:
- Attachment based approaches to therapy;
- Trauma informed therapeutic care;
- Person/client centred approaches;
- Compassion focussed therapy approaches;
- Neuro-psychotherapeutic approaches
- Cognitive and behavioural therapy;
- Dialectical behavioural therapy;
- Play therapy approaches;
- Expressive therapy work;
- Mindfulness and relaxation interventions.
Medicare has recognised that MHOTs are able to provide the same supports as Psychologists under a Mental Health Care Plan, therefore individuals can claim for a rebate in the same way.
Mental Health Occupational Therapists have been trained to use frameworks that seek to understand the whole person, including their internal and external experiences from a neurobiological and psychosocial perspective.
This includes exploring the individual and the environments across each aspect of their life, including:
What Does Mental Health Occupational Therapy Look Like?
A Mental Health Occupational Therapist seeks to explore how you function within your meaningful occupations. These are the daily activities of productivity such as work and study, leisure and relationships, that “occupy” your time and have meaning, value and purpose for you.
A MHOT will explore with you how to recover, adapt and adjust to challenges you might have experienced, to manage and maximise your mental health and overall health, functioning and wellbeing. In seeking to understand the holistic experience of clients, MHOTs consider themselves highly skilled in being able to identify and implement support that is specifically tailored to you and your unique and personal experience.
Occupational Therapists have education within anatomy and neuroanatomy, and by utilising this knowledge MHOTs aim provide both psychological interventions and counselling skills, while also seeking to understand you as a whole person. This means understanding not just your brain, but your entire physical body, its inner workings, and how you function across all environments and occupations.
Mental Health Occupational Therapists have particular interest and expertise in how our bodies hold and express symptoms, and with this understanding they can utilise sensory and holistic interventions to help with mental health management and improve overall functioning and wellbeing.
Mental Health Occupational Therapy
The areas of specific skill and interest covered in mental health occupation therapy include:
- Sensory based interventions;
- Emotional regulation understanding and skills building (utilising a combination of cognitive and body based strategies);
- Executive functioning skills;
- Identifying and developing meaningful occupations using a holistic, person centred framework;
- Maximising your independence in everyday activities/occupations;
- Recovering and regaining skills following physical, emotional or psychological injury.
Author: Keira Gill, B Occ Thy.
Keira Gill is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist (MHOT) and an Animal Assisted Therapist working with Zumi, a five year old Japanese Spitz. Keira works with all ages (including children), and has a particular interest in trauma, anxiety and depression, mood disorders, ADHD, autism, and adjusting to life transitions.
To make an appointment with Keira Gill try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129.