To celebrate the month of April as National Occupational Therapy Month, the Occupational Therapy Clinic, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, held an open house, April 26.

While the term "occupational therapy" can be confusing, occupational therapy is more than just a form of rehab to get back to work. The practice promotes skill development and independence to engage individuals in daily activities.

Occupational therapists from throughout Fort Bliss gathered to educate Soldiers, staff and patients on occupational therapy's role, treatments and responsibilities in helping individuals return to living life as they want to.

"We offer a really wide variety of services to get patients back to fully doing their jobs appropriately and also engaging in their lives fully," said Capt. Amelia Wilson, occupational therapist, WBAMC. "Regardless of your illness, disability, mental state, whatever it is, we will find a way to get you to do what you want."

Several occupational therapy clinics are located throughout Fort Bliss, each tailoring programs to provide holistic and customized approaches to evaluations, interventions, and outcomes. Occupational therapists contribute to enabling large populations, from assisting children with disabilities in school and social situations to assisting elderly in remaining independent.

"It's a way to give them coping skills, anger management, relationship management, whatever it is impacting their everyday life," said 1st Lt. Chelsea Truax, occupational therapist, Intensive Outpatient Program, WBAMC. "We tie therapy to the everyday activities that you want to participate in your own life."

The open house demonstrated therapeutic practices ranging in activities from meditation and stress management to post-surgery strengthening and range of motion exercises.

"We look at their specific ailment and tailor a program that involves something functional like a golf swing or cooking," said Wilson, 29, and native of Warren County, New Jersey. "We do exercises that strengthen but always tie in something meaningful to get them to their end goal."

While occupational therapy does reflect some physical therapy principles, the ability to function in everyday settings remains the main objective.

"Occupation is the driving force in your healing," said Wilson. "By occupying yourself with activities or leisure interests it not only engages you, but drives the healing."

For more information or referral to occupational therapy speak to your Primary Care Manager.