ILOTA Communique December 2017 Communique - Page 8

Opinion: The Distinct Value of OT as MH Team Members, continued from Page 7 Another factor may be the accurate sense of scarcity when it comes to positions in mental health. The truth is that mental health care in our nation has been chronically undervalued and underfunded for longer than I have been in the game. Professionals who can only practice in mental health settings may worry that admitting occupational therapists to their teams will present unfair competition for employment or status in a scarcity-driven culture. While either or both of these situations may cause other professionals to question or even challenge occupational therapy’ place at the mental health table, the fact remains that they and our clients need us there, and it’s upon us to show them why. If we deliver bona fide, classical occupational therapy services, eventually no one will question our distinct value. They will see it for themselves. If we use our occupational therapy expertise to help bring a psychotherapist’s teachings into the client’s everyday actions, their work becomes more effective and evident. For example, when the psychotherapist is teaching specific stress management or self-regulation techniques, the occupational therapy practitioner can coach the client