Helping People to Regain Confidence in Their Abilities; Careers in Occupational Therapy Sue Kelbrick on a Career Suited to Those Who Enjoy Helping Others Overcome Problems

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What does a career in occupational therapy involve? Occupational therapists help people overcome difficulties caused by physical or mental illness, an accident or the ageing process. They work with clients to help them lead full and independent lives and, where possible, prevent disability.

As an occupational therapist you would often work with clients on a one-to-one basis. Your work could include teaching an older patient recovering from a stroke how to dress themselves, encouraging someone suffering with depression to take up a hobby or activity, suggesting ways to adapt an office so an employee injured in a car accident can return to work or helping clients adjust to permanent disabilities.

What skills are needed? To become an occupational therapist, you will need to have a creative and adaptable approach to work, the ability to design and develop individual treatment programmes and the ability to form good working relationships with a wide variety of people, as well as patience, determination and a positive attitude.

What training do you need? You will need to have a degree, or have completed a postgraduate course, in occupational therapy that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Another route into this career is to start as an occupational therapy support worker. …