When Not to Consider Occupational Therapy

Source: WebMD, Healthline

What is an occupational therapist?

The role of an occupational therapist, or OT, is to help individuals maintain independence by teaching them ways to modify everyday tasks and activities that they can no longer do or have difficulty completing on their own. This could be due to certain conditions, such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, traumatic injury, stroke, etc. An OT can help individuals learn how to use assistive technology, learn different ways to complete tasks, suggest safety measures for the home, and train caregivers. Some OT’s help with cognitive aspects of daily life, such as helping with organization, routines, and problem-solving.

When to consider occupational therapy

Typically, occupational therapy is considered when a condition or injury begins to impact the ability to function in everyday life. Some individuals seek occupational therapy after the onset of an illness, or when symptoms of a condition worsen. Occupational therapy can help with learning new skills to live independently.

When not to consider occupational therapy

Although occupational therapy may be beneficial for some people, there are also cases it is best not to consider. This could include limited time, low tolerance, inability to actively participate, or high costs.

Not enough time

Individuals may decide against occupational therapy if they don’t have the required amount of time to commit to the treatment. Occupational therapy is not only done during appointments, but also during daily life. A person must be able and willing to devote a significant amount of time to exercises, practicing different methods of completing tasks, and trial and error of various equipment or behavior modifications.

Low distress tolerance

While some facets of occupational therapy can help a person learn distress tolerance, it is still an uncomfortable process for many people. Individuals who have low distress tolerance may find certain aspects of occupational therapy difficult or unmanageable.

Cannot actively participate

Occupational therapy requires the client to be an active, willing participant in their treatment. They must be able to engage with their therapist and treatment plan, while utilizing what they learn outside the clinical setting. Otherwise, this treatment will not be able to help them in their daily life.

Cost vs. benefit

Occupational therapy can be costly if a person does not have insurance or if co-pays are high. When the cost of occupational therapy outweighs the benefit, it may not be a good investment. If a person is spending more energy and money to attend therapy than they are gaining benefits, it may be best to consider discontinuing occupational therapy.

Additional source: Pros Cons