Occupational Therapy 

What is it?

Occupational Therapy is defined by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), as a client-centred health profession, which focusses on promoting health and wellbeing through occupation. To understand what Occupational Therapy is and how it can help you, it is important to have an understanding of what therapists mean by the word 'occupations'.



Occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and with communities, to occupy time and to bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need to (looking after themselves and others), things people want to do (hobbies, fun & leisure activities) and the things they are expected to do (paid employment, volunteering, societal contribution). Occupations can also be referred to as activities & tasks. (This information is adapted from World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), 2010 & 2012).  

The occupations of everyday life include:

  • Activities of daily living: Self-care activities such as showering, dressing, grooming and eating

  • Household and community functioning: Maintaining a household, driving, budgeting, shopping and community access

  • Education: Activities which allow a person to participate effectively in a learning environment

  • Leisure and play

  • Social participation: Interacting positively with others in the community

  • Work (paid and unpaid): Participating in employment and volunteer activities                                 (Adapted from Occupational Therapy Australia, 2018)


Occupational Therapists looks at the roles and responsibilities associated with each of the occupations and tasks that we do. E.g.  the occupation of raising a child is fulfilled by the role of parent/carer, the occupation of completing a job is fulfilled by the role of employee, and the occupation of playing with a peer is fulfilled by the role of a friend. The roles we have in life make up our identities, a sense of who we are. Having active life roles is vital to mental and emotional wellbeing throughout life, as they provide us with meaning and purpose.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies that participation (or involvement) in everyday activities has a positive influence on health and wellbeing.  Occupational Therapists look at a persons ability to participate in their meaningful occupations, as a measure of wellbeing. If there are numerous barriers to participation, a person may be at risk of their physical health deteriorating, they may lose life roles because they cannot participate, and it may affect their mood and change their behaviour.

How does Occupational Therapy help?

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in activities of everyday life (WFOT 2012). Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages, across all areas of life. Occupational Therapists are unique in their approach to health and delivery of therapy, as therapy is completed through participation in daily occupations - therapy through 'doing'. This makes Occupational Therapists inherently holistic, as we cannot understand your experience of disability, challenge or disease without looking at how it affects your ability to complete all the things you need, want or are expected to do in life. 


The clients abilities, the environments they are 'doing' in, and the occupations/tasks they are doing, are assessed in depth in order to guide a specific goal setting process. The Occupational Therapist together with the client, then finds solutions to adjust the occupation or the environment to meet the unique needs of the person. The therapist also supports the client, family or community through education, skill training and counselling, to function at their potential. Occupational Therapists are responsive to the unique needs of each different person they work with, so no two therapeutic plans look the same. 

Occupational Therapists can be found working with many different groups of people and in different settings, including:

  • Working with children 

  • In acute hospital care

  • Working with people with mental health needs

  • In rehabilitation

  • In workplace injury prevention & management

  • Working with older adults

  • In Non Government Agencies (NGO's)

  • Working in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)                                                                 (Adapted from Occupational Therapy Australia, 2018)

Safe to say, the field of occupational therapy is a complicated beast. If you would like to know more, or have any specific questions about how we work and what we do - I would love to chat with you! Contact me on the link below!

Ph: 0497 927 800

PO Box 2004, Albany

Western Australia, 6331