“that report is due”
“that bank appointment is on today”
“I haven’t updated my CPD file for a while”
Just some of the thoughts that go through an OTs mind when working day to day, weather thinking about work, home life or your own professional development, how do we as therapists practice what we preach and maintain a balance, an equilibrium?
The answer is – I don’t know! 18 months post-graduation and I am continuing to find it difficult to switch off from personal life in the workplace and switch off my OT hat when I come home.
To be an occupational therapist, especially one working with children, you have to have the ability to play, to be free and let go of all else around you, at the same time as assessing what is happening for that child in the moment and evaluating their progress to plan for treatment. Sometimes this comes naturally with a child, sometimes the child needs more support to open up and tell you/show you what their needs are.
Following this analytical and observatory mind, you come home and a friend or relative is having a difficult time, it is very hard not to assess what is happening and not to reflect on what they are saying and not to provide platforms to support them to achieve the goals they are striving towards. How do you just listen, just be and just respond as a daughter or a girlfriend or a friend? Sometimes that is all they need and a good therapist should have the ability to find that balance and take off the OT head when they come home.
Gaining a balance is challenging, it is something that is unique to us all and even after 4 and half years of becoming and being an OT, I still find it difficult and on occasions this has lead to mistakes happening. I hope this can help us to reflect on the difficulty of being a therapist and a reminder of each of the different roles we have in our lives and to try and find a balance between all of them.
Image location: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haba-1598-Balance/dp/B0002HYDO0