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Author Archive for: jentwistle

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What Does a Psychologist Do?

February is Psychology Month.  Psychologists, often confused with Psychiatrists, are valuable health practitioners who assist people with how they feel, act and behave.  Learn more about psychology, its benefits, and how a Psychologist may be able to assist you or someone you love in the following care of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Canadian Psychological Association: What is a Psychologist?

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O-Tip of the Week: Exercise — The Key to a Healthy Heart!

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of February, Heart Month, our O-Tip series will feature Heart Smart Life Hacks.

You’ve heart this before and we’ll say it again:  physical activity is extremely beneficial for all aspects of your health.  When it comes to heart health, regular cardiovascular activity is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and keep your ticker ticking!

Learn more about the benefits of exercise for your heart in the following care of WebMD.

WebMD:  Get Moving for a Healthier Heart

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Overcoming Eating Disorders: OT Can Help

Guest Blogger:  Carolyn Rocca, Occupational Therapist

According to Statistics Canada, in 2012 over 130,000 Canadians over the age of 15 years old reported that they have been diagnosed by a health professional as having an eating disorder. Considering these high rates, and the likely underestimation of reported diagnoses, eating disorders remain a form of mental illness that are not openly talked about.

Eating disorder is an umbrella term for several categories of diagnoses, with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorders not otherwise specified being the most common. Although symptoms vary based on the diagnosis, some overall symptoms experienced with eating disorders include a pre-occupation with body weight, body dissatisfaction, behaviours to prevent weight gain, perfectionism, emotional dysregulation, depressed mood (including suicidality), anxiety, and low self-esteem. Naturally, these symptoms can lead to secondary impacts such as physical adverse effects, social isolation, and a compromise of occupation in the areas of self-care, daily living, leisure, and productivity (NCCMH, 2004).

The treatment and recovery of adolescents with eating disorders involves the collective work of many healthcare professionals including physicians, dietitians, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers, child and youth counselors, and, yes, occupational therapists(Norris et al., 2013). Each of these team members works collaboratively to deliver the best practice approaches of pharmacotherapy, nutritional rehabilitation, and psychosocial interventions, including cognitive behavioural, dialectical behavioural, interpersonal, and family based therapies, among others (APA, 2006; NCCMH, 2004). Several of the healthcare professionals working with adolescents with eating disorders can deliver these therapies, including occupational therapists.

This means that occupational therapists work effectively with several disciplines to deliver best practice approaches, while also integrating their unique focus on occupational functioning to the team. Occupational therapists’ unique contribution is their ability to holistically address the physical, cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial aspects of adolescent eating disorders through occupation-based approaches to improve adolescents’ self-worth and self-esteem (Kloczko & Ikiugu, 2006). As mentioned previously, eating disorders commonly have a substantial impact on adolescents’ function in the areas of leisure, self-care, daily living, and productivity (NCCMH, 2004), meaning many youth have difficulty balancing their family and social lives, education, employment, extra-curricular participation, ability to regulate their own activities, and thus overall health.

Occupational therapists have the expertise to work closely with adolescents and their family to help them with their goals around succeeding in school, work, leisure, and overall re-engagement in meaningful activities. In fact, Occupational Therapists are skilled at using meaningful activities as a vessel to get to the underlying problem of the eating disorder.  Sessions don’t focus on eating, food or binging behavior, but on being productive, enjoying life, and accomplishing things that matter.  The indirect influence is better choices in other areas (including diet) and recognizing the link between mental and physical health, quality of life and wellness.

If you know a teen (or adult for that matter) that may be dealing with an eating disorder, encourage them get help.  There is a team of professionals, including occupational therapy, that are skilled at assisting teens to recover from these, and other mental health issues.

 

References & Resources:

American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2006). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with eating disorders (3rd ed). Retrieved from https://www.guideline.gov/summaries/summary/9318/practice-guideline-for-the-treatment-of-patients-with-eating-disorders

Kloczko, E., & Ikiugu, M. N. (2006). The role of occupational therapy in the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders as perceived by mental health therapists. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 22(1), 63-83. doi:10.1300/J004v22n01_05

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH). (2004). Eating disorders: Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg9/evidence

Norris, M., Strike, M., Pinhas, L., Gomez, R., Elliott, A., Ferguson, P., & Gusella, J. (2013). The Canadian eating disorder program survey–exploring intensive treatment programs for youth with eating disorders. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22(4), 310.

Statistics Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2012004/sections/sectiond-eng.htm

 

previously posted March 2017

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O-Tip of the Week: Heart Smart Diet Tips

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of February, Heart Month, our O-Tip series will feature Heart Smart Life Hacks.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation states that high blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke and a leading cause of heart attack.  Help prevent your risk, and lower your blood pressure by trying the DASH ( Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) diet.  

Learn more care of The Heart and Stroke Foundation:  The DASH Diet to lower high blood pressure

 

 

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Ecotherapy: Harness Nature’s Healing Power

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Of all the ways I take care of myself, my daily walk outdoors with my dogs is one of the most therapeutic.  The only things that keep me from being outside daily would be a horrible rainstorm or temperatures that are too cold for my dogs to endure.

Not only does seeing my dogs enjoying the scents of nature lift my spirits, but the fresh air, sunshine, sounds of nature (or my music, depends on the day), sights of the birds (the hawks are my favorite), trees (and sometimes deer, bunnies and even coyotes) distracts me from the stress of the world, even if just for precious mindful moments.

The below article highlights the concept of Nature Therapy and outlines how sometimes we should consider using the sights and sounds of the outdoor world around us for valuable healing opportunities.

The Hamilton Spectator:  Nature might be the prescription for what ails you

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O-Tip of the Week: Identify What is Helping and What is Hindering Your Success

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of January our O-Tip series will concentrate on creating achievable resolutions and goals for the new year.

When working to achieve any goal there will be things that both help you and hinder you.  We refer to these as facilitators and barriers respectively.  When planning goals identify the facilitators and barriers you expect and have available to you.  This step will help you to create an achievable plan.  It is also helpful, when you regularly monitor your progress, to identify unanticipated barriers and facilitators you have found while trying to achieve your goal.

Try using our FREE printable Barrier and Facilitator Goal Planning Worksheets (below) to get you closer to success today!