Mental Health Programs
Mental health programs can encompass areas such as setting goals, development and implementation of coping strategies as well as planning activities.
Occupational therapy can positively influence mental health and general well-being by supporting engagement in community involvement, meaningful activities, and productive roles. These activities may include attending to one’s personal care, going to school, caring for a child, or obtaining/maintaining employment. Mental health interventions may include working on goal setting and activity planning and the development of coping strategies.
An OTs chief concern is an individuals ability to live a satisfying life by identifying goals that the person has for themselves and working collaboratively to achieve them. A diagnosis is not a focus, rather they work by applying meaningful activity and engagement. Within this scope they work with individuals of all ages including young children, students, parents, older adults, with many types of mental illness such as depression, anxiety, mental illness, so that despite limitation they may have they can lead a productive and meaningful life.
Mental Health conditions an OT can address
- Anxiety and Depression
- P.T.S.D., Post traumatic Stress Disorder
- Stress management difficulties
What types of treatment does an OT utilize?
- Mindfulness Meditation & Therapeutic Applications
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP)
- HeartMath Interventions Program
Other Occupational Therapy interventions may include the following
Mindfulness Meditation & Therapeutic Applications
Mindfulness Meditation allows us to train ourselves to closely pay attention to what is going on in the present moment rather than allowing focus on past or future. Formal mindfulness is practiced
primarily through consciously focusing attention on a particular object such as sounds, breath, body emotions, thoughts or by bringing attention (in an open and receptive manner) to thoughts, physicals sensations and emotions as they arise. When we allow ourselves to become mindful, we also become more aware of our habitual reactions and thought patterns. With this increased awareness we can learn how to de-centre ourselves from anxious or depressive feelings and thoughts and can prevent them from spiraling out of control. This allows us to create new, positive and healthier way of responding to life’s challenges.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy utilized to treat mood disorders such as anxiety and depression as well as unwanted behaviour patterns. By identifying the negative/unwanted pattern of thought about self and the world and focuses on the problem, remaining goal oriented and teaching both strategies and skills CBT records thoughts during upsetting situations and allows one to learn how they think they can contribute to and thus solve emotional problems. In this approach, CBT utilizes the theory that how one thinks can ultimately change how they feel and act from the ‘top down’.
CBT is a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are identified and then challenged in order to alter unwanted behaviour patterns or treat mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. This type of therapy is problem focused, goal oriented and teaches strategies and skills. By monitoring and recording thoughts during upsetting situations, people learn that how they think can contribute to emotional problems. This type of intervention utilizes a “top down” approached such that by changing the way one thinks can ultimately change the way how they act and feel.
Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP)
The primary goals of Progressive Goal Attainment Programs are to reduce psychosocial barriers to rehabilitation progress, increase quality of life, promote re-integration into life-role activities, and facilitate return-to-work. By utilizing targeted treatment of psychosocial risk factors, problem solving, goal-setting, structured activity scheduling, graded-activity involvement combined with motivational enhancement these goals are achieved.
HeartMath Interventions Program
The HeartMath interventions program highlights the critical link between the heart and both ones emotions and cognitive performance. Research has shown that there are specific patterns of heart rhythm directly associated with different emotional states (such as anxiety and depression) resulting in direct effects on cognitive and emotional function. For example, during stress or negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered and the corresponding pattern of neural signals travelling from the heart to the brain inhibit higher cognitive functions thereby reducing our ability to think clearly, learn, focus/concentrate, problem solve and make decisions. Furthermore, it also slows one’s reaction times and reduces ones ability to self regulate. Subsequently, the hearts input to the brain during stressful or negative emotions also has a profound affect on the brains emotional processes.
On the contrary, when one is in a level of “coherence” they have a more stable heart rate pattern, the heart’s input to the brain facilitates cognitive function as well as reinforces positive feelings. Therefore, with “happy or joyful” emotions you may experience improved long term and short-term memory, increased ability to focus and process information, have faster reactions times, higher test scores and an improved ability to learn. From a therapeutic perspective, this means that learning to generate increased heart rhythm coherence by sustaining positive emotions not only benefits the entire body, but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, and perform. This type of intervention utilizes a “bottom up” approach such that by changing the way one feels (i.e. instilling a positive emotion) then one can change the way they act and think.
Developed from a research-based system of scientifically based tools, technology and techniques, HeartMath therapy increases mental and emotional self regulation. The HeartMath system has been tested in multiple healthcare, educational corporate and athletic settings around the world since 1992. The system incorporates emotional restructuring and refocusing tools and techniques that are facilitated by heart-rhythm coherence monitoring and feedback technology (EmWave Pro Plus Software). Individuals learn to effectively reduce stress and anxiety, improve health, improve learning and performance and therefore quality of life.
Practicing coherent building skills also offers a variety of long term benefits which may include increased emotional awareness, overall well being, cognitive flexibility, vitality, and enhanced problem solving. Furthermore, you can reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and other significant disorders. Based on this research, the company provides unique services, products and technologies to improve well-being and reduce emotional stress.
Other Occupational Therapy interventions may include the following:
- Facilitating the development of skills needed for independent living (i.e. managing home responsibilities, time management, financial management, meal preparation/shopping etc.)
- Conducting functional evaluations and ongoing monitoring for successful job placements
- Linking to community resources
- Working with clients to develop leisure or vocational interests and pursuits
- Providing training in activities of daily living (i.e. self care)
- Consulting with educators regarding appropriate accommodations and the development of return to school program
- Consulting with employers regarding appropriate accommodations and the development of return to work programs