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10 Nov 2016

What is Occupational Therapy?

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Occupational therapy is the process of providing support and guidance to individuals whose health prevents them from doing important activities, both in their personal life and professional life. 

These could be anything from the simplest of tasks like making a cup of tea, to more complex actions like driving or riding a bike. Occupational therapists are commonplace in the workplace for assessing workstations and ensuring that the working environment is suitable for the people working in it, and that they have all the appropriate equipment needed to do their job.

In the UK, occupational therapy grew exponentially after World War 1 as a result of the high number of casualties suffered by the fighting generation. After the war, these men were often unable to work or labour without the help of an occupational therapy programme to help rehabilitate them into working life and allow them to complete necessary tasks.

Although this was occupational therapy in practice, it was not called occupational therapy until Margaret Barr Fulton MBE became the first 'occupational therapist' to work on the UK in 1925. Working in Aberdeen, Fulton cultivated a strong reputation for the department and helped to develop the profession in the UK. Whilst successful in Scotland, it was Dr Elizabeth Casson who introduced occupational therapy to the UK after seeing it in practice in America, establishing a residential clinic in Bristol in 1929. Casson would found the first school of occupational therapy in the UK in her Bristol clinic in 1930 which would begin training occupational therapists in the UK based on American techniques.

This was further developed after the second world war where the same thing happened, although occupational therapists were also used in the war within military hospitals to help soldiers recover from their injuries enough to become effective as soldiers once again. 

Since it's introduction to the UK from America occupational therapy has increased in popularity, with a large number of Universities throughout the country offering occupational therapy qualifications and over 1500 new students entering the field each year.

Occupational therapy falls under the category of Allied Health Professionals. See all of our occupational therapist jobs at MSI Group and browse our AHP jobs too.