How old is the profession of occupational therapy?

How old is the profession of occupational therapy?

From its humble beginnings on March 15, 1917, in Clifton Springs, New York, with six founding members, the profession of occupational therapy has evolved into a science-driven, evidence-based profession whose goal is to help clients live to their full potential through a focus on the mind-body connection and the brain. Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages to improve or maintain their ability to perform daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, writing letters, using the telephone, and performing other tasks necessary for self-care.

The earliest records of the use of "therapy" by physicians date back to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460 B.C.-375 B.C.). But it was not until about A.D. 1750 that the term "psychotherapy" came into common usage. The French physician Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893) is generally credited with coining the word "psychotherapy." In 1877, he published the first textbook on the topic, which was followed by several others over the next few decades. But it was not until much later that the terms "psychotherapy" and "psychoanalysis" became widely used together. These terms were coined in 1923 by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), who described his approach as "a special form of treatment which uses psychological methods."

Can occupational therapists have their own practice?

Occupational therapists have the ability to start their own health care business. They are responsible for assessing patients'socio-economic conditions as well as their environment, and using this information to develop an individualized treatment plan. They may work with individuals or with groups of people. Their role is to help people regain or maintain their ability to function independently in their daily lives.

Starting an occupational therapy practice requires at least a bachelor's degree in OT and several years of experience. In addition, prospective practitioners must take and pass an exam given by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

In order to be licensed by their state agency, occupational therapists must meet requirements including completing additional education and passing required examinations. Some states also require that practitioners carry medical insurance. The amount of coverage they can request from insurers is limited by law in most states, but generally includes workers' compensation only.

Many occupational therapists work full time while others choose to run their own practice part time. Most report that the greatest challenge is finding enough work to keep themselves busy all day every day.

How would you describe occupational therapy to a patient?

The American Occupational Therapy Association defines occupational therapy as "the only profession that helps people across the lifespan do the things they want and need to do," as well as "[enabling] people of all ages to live life to the fullest by promoting health and preventing injury, illness, or disability."

Occupational therapists conduct clinical assessments to determine an individual's needs. They then develop an individualized treatment plan for clients. Treatment may include training in specific skills (such as cooking or cleaning), counseling, environmental modification, job placement, assistive technology use, and/or device customization. Clients can be referred for occupational therapy by a physician, therapist, or other health care professional.

Clients typically are treated on an outpatient basis. Some types of treatments include:

Assessments: An assessment is a systematic evaluation of an individual's abilities and disabilities related to occupation. The assessment should include information about the client's environment, such as home safety measures, accessibility of facilities, and equipment needed for daily living activities. The assessment may also include testing of visual perception, motor skills, strength, coordination, and cognition. Based on the results of the assessment, an occupational therapist develops a treatment plan that addresses the areas of weakness or inability to perform daily tasks.

Treatment programs: A treatment program is a series of activities designed to improve an individual's ability to perform daily tasks.

About Article Author

Judith Merritt

Judith Merritt is a lifestyle writer who loves to discuss personal development, psychology, and the challenges of being a woman. She has a degree in communications and is currently working on her master's in journalism. Her favorite topics to write about are women's empowerment, social justice, and body image.

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