DeBunking Myths About Occupational Therapists


Occupational therapists (OTs) are health professionals who can benefit patients of various ages through a holistic approach to wellness. Many people may not fully understand what an occupational therapist does. When first hearing the term “occupational therapist”, a person may think this kind of professional helps people obtain employment. What these professionals do, is actually help patients with physical or mental challenges feel more empowered to perform everyday tasks on their own. If you or someone you love needs help functioning in daily life situations, you may want to inquire with an occupational therapist for more information.

Here are a handful of debunked myths many people may have about occupational therapists:

Myth #1: Occupational therapists only work with children or senior patients.

Occupational therapists may commonly be seen in schools, assisting children who have behavior or learning challenges that make learning in the classroom difficult. OTs may also be seen working with seniors in nursing homes, to help patients feel more independent to perform tasks related to grooming, eating or other routine activities. However, this does not mean OTs only work with adolescents or older adults. An occupational therapist can work with any person who wants to increase their sense of independence, regardless of what stage of life they are in.

Myth #2: Occupational therapists only work in hospital settings.

This is partially debunked in the previous myth, but it is worth emphasizing that an occupational therapist can work in a wide variety of settings. Where an OT works depends on the patient in need and whether they have trouble while in school, at work, home life or in other environments. An occupational therapist may work with a patient in:

  • Outpatient clinics
  • Mental health facilities
  • Home health
  • Community programs
  • Day care centers
  • Schools or universities
  • Nursing home facilities

Myth #3: Occupational therapists (OTs) are the same as physical therapists (PTs).

Occupational and physical therapists may both work with the same patient, but have very different roles to play in their treatment process. A physical therapist focuses on the patient’s mobility, while an occupational therapist focuses on creating tasks or improving the skills of the patient to improve quality of life. In another comparison, PTs work with patients on their motor movements, while an occupational therapist is are likely more concerned with fine motor skills so the patient can perform tasks on their own.

Whether you or a loved one are looking for more independence, confidence or self-esteem, a holistic center Palatine, IL offers can create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs. They understand that you may be feeling frustrated and depressed due to having to rely on others to do certain tasks, that you would normally perform yourself but cannot due to a condition or illness.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into occupational therapy.