Occupational Therapists are skilled at looking at the person and a situation in a holistic manner in order to empower and support the individual to do what has meaning and purpose in their life. Through that occupation, their health and wellbeing can be improved. Terms like wellbeing gets thrown around without always having a clear sense of what we mean by them. Likewise in the last decade interest in the idea of resilience has grown- from fringe models of why some children are able to move on from difficult childhoods, to a sense of everyone’s ability to navigate life’s inevitable difficulties.
There are a multitude of different understandings about what these terms mean. For some the idea of wellbeing and resilience can be seen as ways to put more responsibility on the individual and away from the environmental impact of struggles such as society responses to race, poverty and disability. For this reason I use BoingBoing (see link below) definition for resilience: “Beating the odds, whilst also changing the odds”.
It may be argued by some OTs that building resilience and wellbeing skills is the domain of psychology, but others like Dr Rachel Thibeault argue strongly that research shows that eudemonic or meaningful activities are one of the biggest influencers on an individual’s experience of whether they feel themselves to be resilient, so we can and should be within the remit of OTs.
In addition to this I have noticed a rise in the number of OTs entering new roles that focus more on wellbeing including being part of employee wellbeing services and operating as OT coaches. In this OTalk we will explore the following questions;
- – Are many OTs working in roles where they offer specific interventions around resilience or wellbeing? Are OTs supporting colleagues / workplace resilience and wellbeing?
- -Why do we struggle with these terms- are there better ways to describe this work?
- -Do OTs feel they should be doing more in this area / what is stopping them?
- -What creative examples of practice are emerging?
Boing Boing Resilience Training- source of definition above:
Dr Rachel Thibeault open access talks for CAOT on resilience:
Lyubomirsky and Porter 2010. study which explore the importance of meaningful activity in wellbeing.