Meet Amelia: Overwhelmed, Struggling to Make Decisions
Amelia is in her 20’s, recently unemployed. She left a job where she had been overwhelmed and diminished, impacted by her difficulties over the years with saying no to others. She also had trouble setting boundaries in other areas of her life and wanted to identify and connect to her “inner strength” and to set limits with her family. She was encouraged by a community educator to consider short term occupational therapy.
During the initial assessment, Amelia indicated she had a lifelong tendency to give in to family members’ needs and often had difficulty making her own decisions. She was offered a limited number of sessions which helped to narrow the focus and direction.
Short term occupational therapy can be successful when there is focus upon a small number of clear, measurable goals; behavior changes and solutions; self-awareness; practice between sessions; and the use of strategies to measure change in function.
How Occupational Therapy assisted Amelia:
- Paper and pencil assessment tools and experiential activities were used to understand her patterns, her functioning and what she wants for herself in her future. For example, in one exercise she selected 5 images that attracted her and then the OT explored with her how she had made those decisions.
- Doing activities in each session offered opportunities to talk about her problems, her patterns that worked and did not work, and to identify problematic beliefs or new solutions together.
- Amelia practiced new skills through role playing and other methods of experiential learning including direct experience and focused reflection, both during sessions with OT and between sessions.
- The OT offered strategies to measure and anchor her change and progress. For example, she participated in an exercise that explored where she was before her first session with respect to her goals, where she was now, and where she wanted to be.
Outcome for Amelia:
- Amelia expressed a readiness to practice these new skills and to bring more awareness to her feelings of comfort and discomfort.
- Amelia created momentum. She was empowered by these successes, awareness strategies developed with OT, and demonstrated an understanding of the impact a person’s thoughts have on their behavior.
- Amelia continued to pursue some support for herself. She attended a short-term group and sought some additional individual OT the following year, continuing to make significant progress with communication, independence and self-care.