What is Authentic Occupational Therapy®, Inc.?
We are a company with a mission to bring classical occupational therapy to people in need by facilitating occupational therapy practitioners’ creation and development of independent practices that embody authentic occupational therapy ideals.
I’ve created Authentic Occupational Therapy® because I want to help frustrated occupational therapy practitioners to achieve their dreams of providing real OT to clients to desperately need their services. It’s an “everybody wins” endeavor.
I earned a BSOT from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1979 and an MS in OT from Boston University in 1982. My PhD from Saint Louis University (2006) is in education. I worked with kids and teens with mental health needs in a variety of settings, ranging from therapeutic day schools to in-patient psychiatric units. I was so lucky to have other OTs to work alongside and learn from, and to be in places with freedom and resources to do activity-based sessions.
I moved into teaching full-time in 1991 because I wanted to try something new, and because it coordinated well with mothering my two little girls. Over the next 20 years I served on the faculties at University of Texas in Galveston and at Washington U., Maryville U. and Saint Louis U. (all in St. Louis). I was an enthusiastic OT professor who taught hundreds of students that today’s occupational therapy is fulfilling and meaningful to clients and practitioners alike.
I developed the acronym “OCHIE” (Occupationally-focused, Client-centered, Holistic, Inclusionary and Evidence-based) to describe contemporary OT values, and even put it to music. I had always intended to return to my clinical roots eventually, and in 2011 I initiated Bright Futures, a private fee-for-service practice for young adults who need assistance transitioning into adult roles and activities. I wanted to help an under-served group, and to see if I could practice what I had been teaching my students. (Guess what: I did it, and it works!)
My experiences with Bright Futures have convinced me that:
(1) It is possible to do authentic occupational therapy in today’s world.
(2) For people who have complex and longstanding problems, authentic OT can be the missing link to their achieving their big life goals.
(3) Practicing occupationally-focused, client-centered, holistic, community-based intervention is the most fun and satisfying work ever.
(4) There are many people who are grateful and enthusiastic to purchase effective occupational therapy for themselves or a loved one.
I’m aware that what I do in Bright Futures is unique. Many, perhaps even most, OT practitioners are forced to work in conditions that are both very demanding and constricting. Lots of colleagues (including former students) have shared with me feelings of frustration, sadness and shame that they can’t practice the kind of OT that they originally fell in love with. They have tremendous creativity and skill to offer, but may never get to express their true potential in the current health care and school settings. They’re stressed and discouraged.
I’ve created Authentic Occupational Therapy® because I want to deliver on the promise that I made to my students, that practicing OT can be personally meaningful for them and life-changing for those they serve. I want to help frustrated occupational therapy practitioners to achieve their dreams of providing real OT to clients to desperately need their services. It’s an “everybody wins” endeavor.