I’m often asked why someone with depression, anxiety or postnatal depression or anxiety would choose to see an Occupational Therapist (OT) rather than a psychologist when trying to overcome their mental health difficulties.
It’s a decision each woman has to make for herself, in conjunction with her GP or other medical practitioner – and the decision may come down to several factors.
Both services are fantastic options and provide a clinically relevant service with many different facets. From a highly generalised perspective, psychologist support will focus primarily on ‘talking therapies’, whereas OT support will have a component of talking therapy, but will have a greater focus on practical strategies and outcomes, such as supporting the woman back into participation of her life roles. This is what we call “occupations” – we use “occupation” both as a treatment modality and as a therapy goal.
The good news is, you don’t have to choose just one or the other. OT and psychology work together really well. A woman may see a psychologist for a period of time to help her make sense of her thinking patterns, and how these affect her mental wellbeing, and may also seek support from an OT, who can work with her to help her re-establish routines and skills to enable her to fulfil her role as a new mother, and to develop habits and practical strategies to support her ongoing wellbeing into the future.
A person might see a psychologist for a period of time and then follow that up with OT support, or they might see both concurrently. It really depends on the person’s particular situation and needs.
It’s also important to remember that the relationship between the client and the therapist is an important factor in the success of any therapeutic endeavour. So it’s important that the person seeking support feels comfortable with, and confident in their chosen therapists abilities.
The best course of action if trying to decide between OT and psychologist support is to discuss your options with your GP.
Until next time,