Vocational therapists will examine the habits and behaviors of clients that occur on a daily basis, throughout the week. This is done in order to show the client’s how their various behaviours etc. have now begun to circulate around the substances they use. And as a consequence they have lost function in the roles of their lives that they once considered meaningful. It then becomes the task of the Vocational Therapist to re-construct the lost roles of the client without the added use and effect of substance use.
Recognition of the effect that the substance abuse has had on the occupational functioning of the individual and the family is a unique dimension that the occupational therapist brings to the interdisciplinary approach. By facilitating the skills, daily routines, and occupational roles that the individual values and helping integrate them into the individual’s view of self, the occupational therapist can enhance the life-style and support the abstinence of the newly recovering substance abuser.
According to Ginny Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, “We want people to find the activities that are meaningful to them and at just the right level of challenge so that, as they redesign their lifestyle, they tap into those things that allow them to move into a state of well-being. This is where occupational therapy can really make a difference in helping people stay in long-term recovery”. In other words, we don’t just assist in helping clients cease their substance abuse, we go beyond and help them full the void of those “lost” roles that they once were fully capable in but which substance abuse caused deterioration in.