“I usually tell my clients that my job as an Occupational Therapist involves helping clients do the things they want to do, are expected to do, or need to do each day,” says Natasha Wright Deveau. “This can encompass anything and everything, depending on what is important to the client.”
Over the past 16 years Deveau has served in a number of roles at the health centre. She began her IWK career with the Child and Family Day Treatment Program, and the Adolescent Day Treatment Program before moving to the Adolescent Centre for Treatment, which has since evolved into Adolescent Intensive Services (AIS).
“My job is split into a few different parts,” says Deveau. “One part is my clinical work, which involves working one to one with clients, as well as families when there is an identified need. Educating them on trauma, for example.” Deveau also works with clients individually and in a therapeutic group setting.
“The program I work with functions from an attachment based, trauma informed lens. Part of this involves the work we do with the teens, as well as within the Connect Parenting Program. The 10-week Connect parent/caregiver program supports parents and caregivers of teens with difficult behavioural and emotional problems.”
“I am a Connect Parent Group Facilitator and Supervisor, and co-facilitate weekly Connect Mentoring sessions with AIS staff, where the focus is on improving our working relationships between our team and the teens and families we work with.”
Deveau also serves as the Team Leader of the Yellow Care Area at AIS – a unit that specializes in a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy framework to promote emotion regulation and relationship building.
“The experience of trauma can have a large impact in someone’s life. I educate teens on the impact of trauma and support them in figuring out ways to express their needs and emotions while building strategies to regulate these big emotions.”
“I also support teens in connecting with their community, so they feel connected to something greater than themselves. Through this connection they can then explore their own identity as an independent person and rewrite the story of what they are capable of.”
Deveau feels OTs bring a unique perspective in understanding the difficulties faced by clients and their families.
“We understand the environmental and systemic factors that get in the way of our clients reaching their goals. We also bring a very strong understanding of the functional impact of client’s difficulties.”
“With the Trauma Informed Care movement, I think there is a new appreciation for the benefits of OT and where we can make a difference.”