About Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists are health care professionals who use goal-specific, personally-meaningful activities to promote and restore physical and mental health of people of all ages. The word “occupation” refers to the daily activities that “occupy” an individual’s time, including self-care, work, and leisure. Occupational therapy builds skills necessary for participation in the activities of daily life. Occupational therapists are vital members of the health care team who collaborate with the client as well as a broad range of professionals, paraprofessionals, community resources, entities and client family members.
It is a central principle of occupational therapy that people have an active role in creating and mastering the environment through a dynamic relationship involving engagement in meaningful occupation appropriate to one’s age and socio-cultural context. Occupational therapists provide their clients with creative and adaptive skills in order to facilitate life roles and adapt to environmental challenges with dignity.
The profession of occupational therapy offers a diverse, interesting, and rewarding career. Occupational therapists work in mental health, pediatrics, gerontology, physical disabilities, and many other areas such as hand rehabilitation, drug and alcohol abuse, and vocational rehabilitation. Career opportunities abound for occupational therapists in hospitals, public and private schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and home health programs. Experienced therapists also may become private practitioners or choose to work in business and industrial settings. In addition to clinical practice, occupational therapists may choose to become involved in administration, education, or research.