There are many definitions for occupational therapy; however the following offer a good summary of what we really do:

‘Occupational therapists aim to enable people to achieve as much as they can for themselves, so they get the most out of life. When people cannot do things which are important to them, an occupational therapist can help them in many ways, based on each individual person’s needs and lifestyle.’ (1)

‘Occupational therapy has a unique philosophy that acknowledges the link between what people do and their health and wellbeing. To the profession ‘occupation’ means all the activities a person undertakes, enjoys and values. More importantly, everything we do – our daily occupations – help to define our identity and role. If an individual is unable to do what is important to them and fulfil their role, their health and wellbeing can suffer. Occupational therapists can address this by enabling individuals to find ways to do those activities that are important to them.’ (2)

‘Occupational therapists help people with mental, physical or social disabilities to independently carry out everyday tasks or occupations. They work with children and adults of all ages, whose difficulties may have been presence since birth, or the result of an accident, illness, ageing or lifestyle.

Occupational therapists create individual treatment programmes to help people carry out their daily tasks and to do so with more confidence and independence. They may suggest changes to the person’s environment, whether that be at home, work or school, and may introduce the use of equipment which will help with some activities. Occupational therapists review the treatments periodically, evaluate progress and make changes to the treatment as needed.’ (3)


  1. The College of Occupational Therapists (COT) – March 2008
  2. (2012)
  3. (2012)