Gulf Coast Oil Disaster Resources
Shannon Mangum, MPS, OTR/L, and assistant professor at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans
The areas in which I believe that occupational therapy could provide the greatest impact in assisting individuals in maintaining healthy habits, roles, and routines are:
- Providing stress management, resiliency training, and assistance in identifying local, regional, and national resources for occupational therapy practitioners in the affected areas via face-to-face meetings, OT Connections, and electronic resources.
- Targeting school-age children and providing preventative mental health information specifically for the needs in that community. Using the concepts from school mental health, supportive resources and ideas would be shared with teachers and parents to best support the whole family. This could also be done through faith-based organizations.
- Connecting to the local One Stop Centers that are under the Louisiana Department of Labor (LDOL) and offering classes to workers or training LDOL employees in how to support individuals in maintaining current roles while adjusting to the possibility of new employment.
Below are the guiding principles that we used post–Katrina in both the clinical realm and when providing training and support for occupational therapy practitioners and other service providers.
OT’s Contextual Lens in the Rebuilding/Reconstruction Phase
Intervention based on understanding each client’s:
- personality & lived experiences,
- perceptions—meaning making,
- coping capacity, and
- environmental influences
so that we can identify goals, interventions, and environments that are meaningful to individuals in their current circumstance.
Adapted from Fine, S. B. (1991). Resilience and human adaptability: Who rises above adversity? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 45, 493–503.
Looking at the Whole Person’s Coping Strategies
- Acknowledging and identifying the feelings
- Healthy expression of feeling
- Understanding the experience
- Finding meaning
- Dealing with the consequences of the situation
- Developing practical solutions
(Moos & Billings, as cited by Fine, 1991)
Using Narrative Reasoning
- Storytelling fosters rapport.
- We can learn a lot in a short period.
- Stories let us know how people have made meaning of their experience.
- Stories let us know what challenges clients have previously faced and how they adapt.
Hamilton, T. B. (2008). Narrative reasoning. In B. Schell & J. Schell (Eds.), Clinical and professional reasoning in occupational therapy (pp. 125–168). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
Five Techniques for Occupational Storymaking
- Be an occupational coach:
- Use encouragement, positive comments.
- Teach occupational strategies.
- Stress curative role of occupation in recovery.
- Affirm progress.
- Bring up insights into occupational challenges leading to occupational solution seeking
- Broaden ideas of ADLs – symbolic dimensions of depression
- Focus on image reconstruction
- Incorporate client’s physical, cultural, and social contexts as much as possible
Clark, F. (1993). Occupation embedded in a real life: Interweaving occupational science and occupational therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, 1067–1078.
Listen for Themes Related to:
- Establishing meaning
- Reconciling the ordinary with the extraordinary
- Finding identity
- Relationships of health, illness disability, occupational performance, performance skills and patterns, and context
- Changes in life after disability
Mattingly, C., & Lawlor, M. (2000.) Learning from stories: Narrative interviewing in cross-cultural research. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 7, 4–14.
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