Supporting Mental Wellness Together: The Role of Occupational Therapists in Fostering Community Connection
Written by Marli Groenveld Occupational therapists (OTs) provide a unique perspective within the field of…
Understanding and respecting the cultural values and practices of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders is essential for providing effective care. At Lifeworks OT, we believe in promoting cultural competency to foster trust, build strong therapeutic relationships, and facilitate a recovery focused, person centered practice. Here are some of the strategies we incorporate in practice:
Building Trust and Collaboration:
We acknowledge and respect traditional healing practices, beliefs, and customs. We seek to collaborate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services to develop culturally appropriate intervention plans. We would like to involve and invite family members and community leaders for support to improve intervention outcomes. Receiving and actioning feedback from services and our clients is integral to this collaborative process.
Communication and Engagement:
We practice active listening, use plain language, and respect culturally appropriate terminology. This includes considering the non-verbal cues that vary among different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
Cultural Awareness and Knowledge:
We are learning about the historical context and cultural heritage of our local communities to appreciate the challenges they face and have completed cultural sensitivity training, as a part of this process, with the aim to create a safe and inclusive environment. We are working with our community to develop safe spaces for appointments, such as private outside gardens at our clinic for alternative session spaces. We would like to continue to build partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, community organisations, and community Elders to build our awareness in this area.