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Help in a crisis
Emily: Occupational Therapist
Emily Hearing_550px.jpg

What does a usual day look like for you?

I work in an adult acute inpatient setting. I meet with service users who are new to the ward on a 1:1 basis and discuss their occupational needs – that is, what they do to keep themselves well; what activities they need and want to do; what occupations bring meaning and purpose to their life; whether they have any sense of routine and balance; whether their symptoms stop them from participating in valued or necessary occupations; and so on.

Our occupational therapy team runs a therapeutic activity programme which includes physical and creative activities, cookery, relaxation sessions, and talking groups (covering topics such as anxiety management and self-esteem). All service users are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

The programme is intended as way of supporting people to establish a productive, balanced routine; helping to stimulate their interest and increase motivation; empowering them to access and use helpful coping strategies; to express themselves and build skills; and is a means of assessment.

Based on any issues or goals flagged up on initial assessment, myself and the other OT’s might also carry out 1:1 sessions, home or community access visits and functional assessments.

What made you want to work for the Trust?

An opportunity came up and I was in the right place at the right time!

What parts of your job do you find the most rewarding?

Occupational therapy is so much more than ‘distraction’. It’s really rewarding to see people build their skills and their confidence through occupational participation, and become motivated to pursue their goals.

Participating in meaningful occupation is so central to recovery, and I feel privileged to be able to work alongside people in this capacity.

What’s the most challenging part of your role?

Raising the profile of occupational therapy and making sure its value is recognised.

What’s it like living in East Anglia?

East Anglia is a beautiful place to live and is convenient for London.

What advice have you got for people who might be thinking of joining us as an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapy is very varied, and can look different depending on the setting. If you’re thinking about being an OT or are newly qualified and want to get more of an idea of what OT in mental health looks like, try to visit occupational therapists working in different fields or service pathways and ask lots of questions.