How Does Occupational Therapy Help In Psychiatry?

How Does Occupational Therapy Help In Psychiatry?


By Dr. Amulya Shetty, Psychiatry

Contrary to common perception, psychiatry does not merely look into rectifying the emotional distresses one endures but also works towards overcoming any trauma-induced shortcoming that one may suffer from.

Psychiatry is committed to making life more productive and organized for the survivors and has spread its wings into various branches of therapy for guaranteeing well-being to those seeking psychiatric assistance. One of the most helpful integrations in this regard has been the use of occupational therapy in psychiatry. Essentially, occupational therapy refers to the practice of engaging the survivor in all kinds of activities which not only occupy his or her attention but also ensure that he or she is able to conduct all the regular activities without any hindrance whatsoever.

Occupational therapy has reaped a lot of benefits in association with psychiatry. While the latter encourages one to participate in new endeavors, the former executes such participation and therefore ushers in a healthier way of life.

Occupational therapy targets at building and restoring the ability to perform the daily life skills independently. This may range from general social responses, conducting oneself in the public domain and all sorts of social interactions to the promotion of socially benefiting activities like a plantation drive, rehabilitation activities, cultural activities and more. This basically prepares one to approach the society as normally as possible, overcoming the emotional struggles that would hold them down before.

Some of the obvious benefits of Occupational therapy is the enhanced quality of life, renewed self-confidence, shedding of all sorts of social inhibitions and an overall feeling of wellness.

Assessments and Treatments-

When working with someone with a mental health condition, occupational therapists employ a variety of assessments. Once the necessary information has been obtained, the therapist creates a personalized occupational profile. This profile is used for goal-setting and treatment planning.

Common areas of assessment include:

  1. Activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing, eating)
  2. Instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., driving, money management, shopping)
  3. Education
  4. Work (paid and volunteer)
  5. Play
  6. Leisure
  7. Social participation
  8. Motor processing skills
  9. Mental and cognitive processing skills
  10. Communication and interaction skills
  11. Habits, roles and routines
  12. Performance contexts (e.g., cultural, physical, spiritual)
  13. Activity Demands
  14. Client factors (e.g., difficulties due to body structures or functions)
  15. Occupational self-assessment

Occupational therapy can be vitally important in the overall mental health treatment process. Following are some common interventions:

  • Life skills training
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • Supported employment
  • Supported education
  • Social and interpersonal skills training
  • Life balance intervention
  • Modalities such as biofeedback and mindfulness-enhanced therapy

Occupational Therapy has also gained a lot of popularity in the rehabilitation of children with special abilities over recent years.