Occupational Therapy: A Contemporary Career in Psychology
Occupational Therapy Occupational Therapy: A Contemporary Career in Psychology U.S. News recently reported that occupational therapy is ranked as one of the 50 best careers of 2010 and ranked at 19 out of the top 100 careers expected to be the most secure and best paying in the next decade (U.S. News Staff, 2009). The American Occupational Therapy Association defines
occupational therapy as a profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation, with the primary goal of enabling patients to participate in the activities of everyday life in order to help them lead more independent, productive, and satisfying lives (2008). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, occupational therapists may work with individuals, of all ages, suffering from various severity degrees of mental, physical, developmental, or emotional disablement (2009). However, some occupational therapists may work exclusively with individuals in a particular age group or with a particular disability. For example, occupational therapists may provide early intervention therapy to infants and toddlers who have, or are at risk of having, developmental delays, while other occupational therapists may work with elderly patients to help them lead more productive, active, and independent lives (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008). H. Meltzer (1937), discussed that through modification of an individual and the individual’s environment; occupational therapist are able to improve patients’ ability to perform tasks in home, community, and work environments; thus, increasing their independence and productivity. Occupational therapists use use therapy strategies to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of patients; and improve basic motor functions, reasoning abilities, or compensate for permanent loss of function including physical and sensory (The American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008). Occupational therapy is not only diverse in the treatment interventions it employs but also innovative and creative in the treatment research it conducts. Occupational therapists often design tools, structures, and treatment intervention plans. These designs may demonstrate the use of adaptive equipment, including wheelchairs, orthoses, eating aids, and dressing aids. They may also design or build special equipment needed at home or at work, including computer-aided adaptive equipment (The American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008). Assessing and recording a client's activities and
Occupational Therapy progress is an important part of an occupational therapist's job. Accurate records are essential for evaluating clients, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers. Work Environment In 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that industries employing the largest number of occupational therapist included were home health care services,nursing care facilities, ofﬁces of other health care practitioners, general medical and surgical hospitals, and elementary and secondary schools
(U.S. Department, 2009). However, while many were employed by hospitals, the ﬁeld is as diverse as it is gratifying.
Occupational therapists may work in schools, evaluating and recommending therapies for
speciﬁc students; nursing facilities and adult day care programs, helping elderly patients lead more productive lives; or in mental health programs, teaching time management or budgeting skills to help developmentally challenged patients function more effectively (The American Occupational Therapy Association, 2008). Occupational therapists may also work in rehabilitative centers, helping individuals struggling with substance abuse, eating disorders, or behavioral problems; and part-time or full-time employers such as government agencies and private practices (Meltzer, 1973). It is not...