Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month
Occupational therapy is a crucial component of our Headway program year round, and this month, we’re celebrating our occupational therapists to honor the incredible impact they’ve made in our community.
Here at Bastion, we have two amazing occupational therapists who approach their roles as both a career and a calling. They work in individual and group settings to help our Headway participants maximize independence and quality of life.
“When I heard about occupational therapy, it was as if they created the profession for me, because I feel so well suited to it and honestly very lucky to be a part of this profession,” Clinical Director Rachel Schwenk says. “We are the rehabilitation professionals that really focus on real life daily tasks as the intervention to maximize people's potential.”
Occupational therapist Caity Bower was drawn to the field because it allows her to be a continuous learner at any stage of her career, merging meaningful treatment interventions like play, socialization, music and art with the science of neurology and physiotherapy.
Through this holistic approach, Caity and Rachel look at the whole person to help them address both daily self care needs and higher level needs around cognition, work training, volunteer exploration, and social development.
“At its core, it’s client-centered, which I think is the best modality and treatment for veterans. And I also think it's the most ethical form of treatment,” Caity says. “When trying to create meaningful daily change in a person's life, OTs can be on the ground, in the community, and in the home.”
Occupational therapy is vital to veterans transitioning to civilian life because it helps them practice real life skills and tasks in a non-simulated setting. Through Headway, they’re also supported by their fellow participants, with peer-mentor relationships developing organically within the group. This creates a unique environment for our OTs to work with participants in innovative ways.
“Only 3% of occupational therapists work in this mental health or community type of space,” Rachel says. “And so it's a very niche practice area for an occupational therapist to be in.”
Both Rachel and Caity are proud of the success of the Headway program and the progress they have seen from participants, and are excited to be a part of Headway’s continuous growth.
“I would say that we've really created a family. And there's no better form of therapy than having the support of a family and a chosen family that we've created here,” Caity says. “It just paves the way for increased meaning in life and increased engagement in what is meaningful to a person. And we do that as a team and as a family.”
We are so grateful for Rachel and Caity’s commitment to our community’s veterans. Their energy, creativity, clinical expertise and compassion have transformed the daily lives of so many veterans at Bastion.
“I feel just immensely blessed to be part of a profession that fiercely advocates and elevates people to the best version of themselves,” Rachel says. “And I hope to be a trailblazing occupational therapist to really prove that our profession deserves a seat at the table with this population, especially in this setting.”
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