Mental health occupational therapy

Etymology: (1913) From the ancient Greekἔργον, ergon (“work”) and θεραπεία, therapeía (“care, service”).

What is mental health occupational therapy?

A mental health occupational therapist works with people who are not able to resume their normal activities after a mental health problem. Occupational therapists work to help you return to normal functioning and to empower you to take care of your mental health.

Conditions often treated by mental health occupational therapists in our CMI Clinics:

  • Adjustment disorder
  • Burnout
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Mood disorders

How does mental health occupational therapy work?

The role of the mental health occupational therapist is to identify which daily activities are disrupted by your mental health condition and to work with you to find solutions to bring your meaningful activities back into your routine. The occupational therapist works in collaboration with you through discussions, teaching sessions and problem solving. During the sessions, we may address the following topics:

  • Routines and lifestyle habits
  • Occupational balance
  • Stressors and stress management
  • Mental health risk factors
  • Professional identity
  • Motivation and energy level
  • And many others

When and why should you see an occupational therapist?

When it comes to mental health, it can be difficult to identify symptoms and early warning signs. If you notice changes in your mood, difficulty concentrating, problems sleeping or a loss of interest in your activities, it is important to take a break. It is never too early or too late to see a mental health occupational therapist to take care of yourself.

A doctor’s prescription is not required to see a mental health occupational therapist, but do not hesitate to talk about your mental health issues with your health care professionals to get all the help you need.

What should you expect from an occupational therapy session at CMI Clinics?

The first mental health occupational therapy session aims to create a relationship of trust and to find out how your daily life is affected by your illness. It consists of an assessment of approximately 90 minutes, and some questionnaires may be administered to help identify your difficulties. At the end of this session, the occupational therapist will be able to tell you what topics will be discussed with you during the next appointments.

Afterwards, the occupational therapy sessions will last 60 minutes and can extend from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the symptoms. In general, about 10 sessions are necessary to address the issues and to ensure long-term gains.

Techniques used in occupational therapy to cope with your mental illness

Some of the techniques and topics discussed at mental health occupational therapy sessions include:

  • Symptom management
  • Use of an occupational schedule
  • Principles of cognitive-behavioural theory
  • Behavioural reactivation
  • Graduated exposure in the clinic and in the community
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Teaching, counselling and problem solving
  • Return to work and other activity planning

Costs of mental health treatment

If you are covered by a public insurer (CNESST, SAAQ, IVAC), steps can be taken to have the treatment costs covered for you.

Group insurance plans may reimburse part of the cost of occupational therapy treatments. Arrangements can also be made by your occupational therapist with your compensation agent to facilitate payment.

The cost of an occupational therapy session is not covered by the RAMQ.

Need a mental health occupational therapy session?

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