Psychologists perceptions of Occupational Therapy with clients with eating disorders

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Occupational Therapy in Mental Health


Occupational Therapy


From a review of the literature it appears that occupational therapists (OTs) have been less actively involved in the treatment of clients with eating disorders in the last 10 years. With the job markets changing for OT, it is important to understand the factors influencing therapists' involvement in this area. One factor that may limit the number of therapists working with clients with eating disorders may be the limited understanding of and lack of referrals to OT by psychologists. This study investigates whether psychologists perceive that OTs provide beneficial treatments for clients with eating disorders and if they would refer eating disorder clients to OTs. This study also aims to identify if there are similar treatment models and techniques used by both OTs and psychologists in treating this population.

Surveys were sent to 75 members of the New York State Psychological Association who had self-identified as treating eating disorders. An effective return rate of 44% was achieved. The results of this study show that psychologists currently use many of the same treatment modalities OTs use with people with eating disorders and view those techniques as beneficial for this population. They would refer to OT for all modalities except assertiveness training. The results also show that psychologists are not aware of OT's role with this population, and, thus, education about OT is needed.