What is occupational therapy (OT)? Is it similar to physiotherapy (PT)? Does it help find me a job?
Let’s just say OT is for you and you don’t even know it yet!
This blog will aim to debunk common misconceptions about OT and will provide you with a newfound understanding of what OT is and how it can support you along your fertility journey.
What is OT?
Occupational therapists are often faced with misidentification due to the word “occupation” being featured in our job title. “Occupations” do not just refer to job-related tasks but it encompasses all of our day-to-day tasks, such as self-care, social, and leisure activities. In other words, occupational therapists work with people to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by considering an individual’s personal factors, their occupation(s), and their environment to support their wellness and engagement.
OT Role in Fertility Care
Going through fertility challenges can be an emotionally taxing and stressful process for individuals and their loved ones. Infertility can have a significant impact on one’s physical and mental wellbeing, often presenting as anger, frustration, guilt, avoidance, grief, decreased self-esteem, and much more. Fertility challenges can also impact your relationships and sense of financial security. The added stress that comes when you begin your fertility treatments can further permeate into other aspects of your life that you may not anticipate.
The long wait times, the undesirable test results, the numerous failures, and the cost-heavy procedures; all add up over time and can become overwhelming if not well managed. Fertility challenges are also met with changes to one’s daily life, identity, roles, and routines, whereby it reduces engagement and participation.
OT can support the care and wellbeing of fertility clients, as occupational therapists are equipped with the skills and knowledge to help you reflect, cope, and move forward in your fertility journey.
OT vs. PT
The main difference between OT and PT is that PT focuses on improving an individual’s ability to move their body whereas OT focuses on improving an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living. PT is also rooted in physical rehabilitation whereas OT is more holistic and rooted in mental health and physical health.
OT vs. Other Mental Health Care Providers
OTs differ from other mental health care providers (such as psychotherapists, social workers, counsellors etc.) as occupational therapists have a holistic lens focused on helping an individual develop skills and strategies to get back to managing their daily activities and being able to engage in activities that they find meaningful.
Occupational therapists adopt psychotherapy approaches (i.e.,Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, etc.) as occupational therapists are 1 in 5 regulated health professions that are able to practice the controlled act (legally permitted) of psychotherapy in Ontario.
What Types of Services can OT Offer?
OT can benefit anyone experiencing fertility challenges! OT services can include but is not limited to the following:
- Physical Symptom / Pain Management
- Stress & Anxiety Management
- Preparing for cycle monitoring – modifying and adapting daily routines
- Counselling (emotional support/coping)
- One-to-one and couples sessions
- Sleep Hygiene
- Fatigue & Energy Management
Remember, you do not need to face these challenges alone!
Fertility Friends Foundation is here to make a difference!