OT Adventures

  • How did I get here? Shifting into an OT career....

    Hi! Welcome to entry #1 of my blog--my first blog. The first few entries will be filled with words, but I hope to condense ideas as I explore typing about my life. 

    I've entered the study of OT as a teacher, mover, performer. I'm a second year OT student at San Jose State University (I am fond of SJSU!), and I plan to become a pediatric OT who specializes in sensory integration and holistic interventions.

    About my first career---I began with Alexander Technique instruction at age 26 (mostly working in theater departments in academia and also contracting in workshops and teaching in private practice). I wanted people to find health and well-being. So I also studied many holistic practices which lead to Reiki and yoga for children with special needs. These are just a few of my investigations---I studied and studied many methodologies! 

    Ten years ago, I nearly joined my friend at OT school. She was shifting from a photography career to OT. But, I was still interested in movement practice and the performing arts. So I continued and learned a great deal. If I hadn't earned my MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, I would not have been introduced to Barbara Dilley's pedestrian movement work or Wendell Beavers and Erika Berland's Developmental Movement and postmodern choreography. And also, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen's Body-Mind Centering. These creative investigations will be incredibly useful in my work as an OT (in addition to Alexander Technique and meditation). As my OT professors aptly state: your prior work is applicable to your future practice. 

    So, how did I realize OT was the next step? Here's one early memory: After working with students on a scene for a play, I chatted with a co-teacher about how their bodies and movement had changed. I realized that I did not care as much about the art of the scene. I was interested in what they were feeling and experiencing. I wanted them to feel well. 

    Many of my students had experiences of improved being. Here were some of the outcomes: 

    -the ability to wait tables without a hurt back

    -neck pain gone after 10 years 

    -anxiety dissipating from the realization that all is okay

    -hand gesture creating an energetic experience of center

    -ability to go from sitting to standing without using the arms of the chair

    Learning from my students' experiences (in Alexander Technique, movement and theater), I concluded that I was practicing healing. When I wasn't using healing work during the creation of student theater productions or collaborative art projects, believe me, my students and collaborators let me know (because they felt tense or rigid)! I needed to always practice the work in order to teach and practice performance. 

    The final confirmation that OT was the right track was apparent in my last college theater class. Students who showed up had various histories and backgrounds that I was not prepared for: seizures, autism, mental health disorders, among other challenges. I knew that OT was the next step. I am looking forward to OT practice and beginning this process in school clinics this year.