Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Goals for Healing Your Life Through Activity

Yesterday I was chatting to a wonderful new graduate of occupational therapy who has shown interest in my new book "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story". She mentioned in a Guest Post of mine on her blog, how she hoped to receive a signed copy of the book. My heart sank. On the one hand I would love to be able to give out free copies of my book and the fact that someone wants a signed copy was really wonderful to hear. That is really the reason I ran a crowd fundraiser ahead of launching my book. Sadly, I had very little response and hence, do not have the means to order and ship free copies. Quite simply there are costs involved to do so. The expenses are totally understandable I just lack the means to cover them.

We chatted a bit about my OT journey and the fact that despite all the challenges and let downs, I still have this inner drive to do something to improve the situation. So I decided to share my goals for the book as part of a process towards setting up another crowd fundraiser, one that I aim to make far, far more successful.

Here are some of my goals for this book:

- I would really love to see the profession of occupational therapy properly recognized and appreciated. Since coming to Israel I have had a few experiences that to me should never take place. Not if there is appropriate respect given to a profession that makes a difference in a tangible way. If you have heard these stories, I apologize for repeating myself, if you have not, then let me share:

When I first began doing a job search in Israel I was offered some jobs and turned down for others. Those who were offering me work thought that ₪25 on average was a really great offer. Now the rate of minimum wage was around ₪20-22 so I would not be earning too much more. However, I also had come with about 12 years of experience so this low salary offer was not much fun. But now came the part that really distresses me and that is the amount of people who would tell me I did not need a profession but just to go and clean houses, something that would give a salary of ₪ 40 - 55 an hour. This knowledge distressed me. But more than this, over time I began to discover teenage baby sitters or house cleaners will earn more than a qualified OT. Those jobs that offered a better salary expected one to be prepared to forfeit ones pension and benefits. Why should anyone do that? Everyone needs a pension. To me, this kind of scenario can NEVER take place in a world or a country where there is respect and appreciation for those who have taken the trouble to go to university and obtain a degree that has the potential to improve the lives of others in very meaningful ways.

- Occupational Therapy needs to be understood by doctors, other health professionals and business people. It does not make sense to me the extent to which I see people posting about an illness, accident or other issue where OT intervention can assist only to hear that OT was not considered not by the doctors, not by the rest of the team and not by those asking for prayers. Why is OT not featuring? As for business people, I often recall my many attempts to obtain assistance from the business consultants at small business development organization here in Israel. Every time I would mention I am an occupational therapist and my goal is to build a treatment centre we would waste time in explaining what OT is or how my vision is completely ALL OT. No I am not doing too many different things, I am doing OT. A full centre all of OT. What does that mean? Well now we come back to the need for my book, that you can learn what the profession is all about and exactly how my vision is all my profession.

- Recently I was interacting with an OT who gave up being an OT after 18 years of practicing in order to move on to better things. What did that mean? A job with better pay and better conditions that were conducive to good mothering. That has to be one of the saddest pieces of information I have heard. After 18 years of being an OT, an OT should be loving her profession and sharing more of it with the world. It should be possible to write books, give talks, teach, develop, enhance the profession. If one is tired of a profession, fair enough but due to not enough pay and too many hours or unrealistic demands on one's time, those should not be happening, not in a world where occupational therapy is being respected and appreciated.

How do you show respect for a profession? Number one is to pay better. A god salary has far more chance of keeping experienced therapists continuing to progress in the profession. Pay on time. Give the benefits that are owing to the worker and respect their personal time as their own. Being an occupational therapist does not mean being a slave to the place of work, it means using ones professional expertise to assist ones clients to attain their specific goals in the best possible way according to our profession, level of expertise, mix of skills, evidence and clinical reasoning. Which brings me back to the sad reality that too many places will turn down a therapist who has years of experience. That to me is shortsighted. If those with years of experience are given work, they can offer their skills, knowledge and experience to help to build the next generation of occupational therapists into even better OTs than the ones that are retiring. But by missing out a group of therapists due to refusal to pay their salary? Well that just shows lack of appreciation for what goes into obtaining experience.

I hope these goals make sense to you. Occupational Therapists are focused on finding solutions. So if one main key to the types of problems listed above is lack of understanding of the vast and incredible profession of occupational therapy, well then a book is in order to make the necessary change. What do you say? How much do you know about the profession?

Please join me to increase appropriate understanding, recognition and appreciation of occupational therapy through this book, further books (I have at least 10 that are in the process to being written), video presentations, talks and more.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please purchase your copy. Oh and if anyone is feeling generous, please be in touch to sponsor that signed copy for this enthusiastic, wonderful OT who has taken an interest in the book. The cost is really affordable, be in touch if you would like to make this happen. And if you are willing and able to come on board and share the crowd fundraiser, make a contribution, book me to give a talk, share this blog post, please do be in touch. I am currently developing a list of those who are willing to help.

Thanks for your interest.

This post is prepared for you by
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom" and author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story"

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