What is an Occupational Therapist?

Becoming an occupational therapist is a rewarding career path. These professionals provide specialized assistance to people of all ages so that they may lead more independent lives. Clients with issues that affect their mobility, emotional state or psychological development seek occupational therapy to learn new skills and to improve their current level of functioning. Read on to learn more about this field and the ways in which occupational therapists assist their patients, along with the types of traits required of those working in this profession.

About Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a line of work that emphasizes living life to the fullest in spite of various obstacles. Such issues that may hinder this type of living include disability, illness, environment, emotional impairment or physical limitation. The term “occupational” refers to the types of everyday living activities we all take on throughout life. Occupational therapists help their clients to be able to accomplish these occupations as independently as possible. This work may require assisting these individuals by modifying or adapting such activities. OTs also teach new skills so that independent functioning is possible. Occupational therapy is grounded in both the medical and social science sectors.

What Occupational Therapists Do

As an occupational therapist, one would work in a number of different settings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These include hospitals, corporate health centers, clinics, private practices and skilled nursing facilities. Their duties span a wide array. Occupational therapists may be charged with creating community programs for certain populations to help them lead fulfilling lives. They might work with the elderly to assist them in maintaining as much of their physical and cognitive function as possible. They could teach skills to those with physical disabilities that would help them overcome some of their limitations. They also show people how to overcome social or emotional issues that hinder their relationships and quality of life. The possibilities truly are quite numerous.

Who Should Study Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help bring about real change in the worlds of their clients. They encourage and make possible independent living, leading to full and satisfying lives. An OT should be creative and possess strong problem-solving skills. Critical thinking is a must. Good interpersonal skills are also necessary in this field. Communication, listening and conflict resolution abilities are definitely helpful when working in occupational therapy. These therapists should have a proclivity for science, as concepts of human anatomy and physics underlie much of what is done in this profession. An interest in social sciences is also necessary. Aspects of psychology and counseling are utilized every day in this line of work in order to best help people overcome their perceived limitations and to encourage them to live their best lives. Finally, a sincere desire to help people is probably the most important characteristic needed in this profession.

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Occupational therapy is a rewarding profession with numerous opportunities to help in a variety of settings. As an occupational therapist, workers can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life of their clients.