What is integrative OT?

Occupational therapists can be considered the original "life coach". In fact, The American Occupational Therapy Association defines OT as “the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do” as well as “[enabling] people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent…injury, illness, or disability.” In general, the OT of practice can include addressing self-care and home task independence, strength, range of motion, balance, coordination, vision, functional cognition, wellness and leisure. (click to read the full article of What is An OT? at myOTspot.com). So as you can see, the whole basis as OT as a profession is related to the way that a person functions in the occupation of LIFE itself, and this includes all the things that people do to bring meaning and purpose to their own lives.


In 1919, Dr. William Rush Dutton, Jr wrote that all patients “should have occupations which they enjoy...., that sick minds, sick bodies, [and] sick souls may be healed through occupation.” Occupations are those tasks, activities and events that occupy our time.  These may include work, play/leisure, self-care, rest and sleep, education, rest and sleep, and social participation among other things. Occupations are also the things that people do to bring meaning and purpose to life. 

Integrative Occupational Therapy is an emerging specialty. Holistic/Integrative OT's uphold the foundations on which occupational therapy profession originated. Integrative OT's use many tools to help facilitate and empower clients to achieve their desired outcomes for their occupations, we help with the occupation of being human. We recognize that we are more than just "bodies" that have physical aliments and we facilitate healing with and through the therapeutic use of self and most importantly help our clients tap into that source so they can heal themselves. We recognize that "true" healing begins and ends with the soul. Integrative OT integrates Mind-Body-Spirit, Prevention of Disease, and Health & Wellness Promotion into the OT Practice. Occupational Therapy is already a holistic field, as it addresses so many aspects of an individual and their lives.  Integrative OT encompasses practices that have been formerly known as Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) that have now been researched with proven outcomes and are becoming more integrated in to mainstream healthcare.

You can learn more about many holistic OT topics here, where my mentor Emmy Vadnais, OTR shares podcasts with many people in the Holistic OT/healthcare community on many different holistic health topics. It should also be noted that I used some of the the lovely words of  Ana Hernando, MOT in writing this page.