For the Health of It: The OCD – OT Connection

Tyler Ryan learns about how occupational therapists can help treat OCD

COLUMBIA SC (WOLO) – Can an occupational therapy help treat OCD?

According to Cora Health’s Hima Dalal, the answer is “YES, occupational therapy has a significant role in the treatment of OCD.”

To understand the treatment, we must first understand what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is.  In the name the Obsession is associated directly with the compulsion.  That having been said, examples of an obsession is:
• An idea, image, OR impulse which intrudes into the conscious awareness repeatedly as one’s
own impulse or idea
• It is recognized as irrational and irrelevant
• When a person tries to resist an urge but is unable to
• Failure to resist an urge leads to distress and ANXIETY

A compulsion is defined as
• A form of behavior which is usually followed by obsession
• Unrealistic behavior that is either irrational or excessive
• Insigne is present, so the person realizes the irrationality of compulsion
• Compulsion associated with obsession

OCD has a negative impact on patients process skills while the motor and communication skills are intact. OCD impacts daily living functions, work life duties, attention span, focus, mood, emotional health and mental health, peace of mind, sleep, and productivity. For example, a person having OCD, compulsive thoughts check their door locks or stove continuously or stress about lateness to an event, will have an impact on a person’s performance.

Covid made OCD clients mental health even more challenging- they went into a solitary lifestyle and their social life was compromised. So many have not returned to work or allowed their family members or friends to come into their home to avoid sickness and anxiety.

So what can an occupational therapist do to treat someone who suffers from OCD?

According to Dalal, occupational therapy will assess and treat patients in daily living and occupational areas. O.T. will assess the areas of their functionality which includes their habits, thoughts, personal care, environment,
work, behavior, etc. O.T. uses the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) as a frame of reference for treatment. Interviews, observation, motor skills, interests, emotional health, lifestyle, and stress levels
are all tools used to evaluate a patient.

An O.T. will work on providing different therapeutic intervention to decrease anxiety and stress, and increase focus, positive thinking, relaxation by advising the Pt through meditation, yoga, breathing practicing, desensitization, redirection of thought process, and graded activity. A patient could also write about themselves, dividing what they wrote into two parts, tve & -ve purposeful or meaningful activity. A person can reform his or her daily routine for daily living for play and work without increasing stress or anxiety for compulsion as the goal.

If you have any questions, you can contact Hima Dalal at or visit and like Hima Dalal Integrative Health on Facebook to experience the benefits of guided meditation.

Categories: Digital Exclusives and Features