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THE BACKSTORY

HOW DID INTEGRATED OT COME TO BE?

HI THERE. MY NAME'S KATIE JOHNSON.

I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in the world - however that might look for them. I also believe that for our clients, it is SO often the case that they need someone who can hear them and see them in their life, to meet them 'where they are at' in this moment.

You're probably here because you want to know a bit more about Integrated OT, or maybe you're like me and really want to know who the people are behind the business before taking any action. Seems fair enough to me and I hope this satisfies you, whatever the reason... Here are some quick links if you have particular questions you want to clear up, otherwise, enjoy the long version. 

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ABOUT ME...

I live in the outer suburbs with my two little kids, our dog Murray and my husband, in our very patterned orange and brown 70s home - we have been working on reducing how overstimulating that can be for a while now and I can confirm that we have managed to get rid of the corduroy curtains!

 

My days are spent being a jack of all trades, whether it be riding scooters, changing nappies, watching Bluey, painting my house (see above), having coffee and people watching (pleased to say that my kids also find this fun - winning!) and planning our next holiday, whether it involves camping or travelling overseas. Luckily for me, Occupational Therapy isn't too far off all of these things, depending on who you are working with, so I pretty much get to have fun all of the time!

 

On a more serious note, my favorite TV shows/movies include Rake and The Heat, so if you are familiar with those two shows, it probably won't surprise you that I am the person in my friendship group to see the hilarious side of tricky situations. I'm the person who can't help but laugh loudly when something terribly inappropriate happens. Way before its appropriate to laugh, normally. But that's ok, because we're all human, right?!

 

THE IDEA OF INTEGRATED OT SEEMED FAIRLY SIMPLE -

The idea for Integrated OT seemed fairly simple - I wanted to make occupational therapy available to people who had a hard time accessing services. I felt a real sense of injustice for the people who didn't fit the criteria or were unable to advocate for themselves to get the support they needed. Even though I wasn't specialised in a clinical area of Occupational Therapy, I was great at connecting with people and had the mindset that if I could be a launching pad for people accessing the therapy they needed, then wouldn't that be an incredible contribution. If I could help people I would, otherwise I would help them link with the right people to get the support they need. Turns out, I was right - lots of people needed help with one of those first big steps and here we are today, working with a big old range of people from all over the Northern and Western Suburbs and Geelong Region.

I used to work in an 'Injury Management Advisor' role at an engineering company. I'm not sure if you know any engineers (I'm married to one!) but I found that there was an awful lot of time where the focus on what I was doing involved helping people to relate to each other. Helping them understand why conversations were challenging and how to have some of those tricky conversations in an easier way. I loved my job and how interesting it was, but like anything that you have to repeat over and over again, the needle wasn't moving far enough, so to speak, and I felt like I could create a bigger legacy out on my own.

 

As a student Occupational Therapist on rotation in a rehabilitation service, I remember a moment of insight after meeting a client who was terminally ill. The service was physical in its focus and to me, it didn't seem surprising that the client wasn't overly motivated to practice riding an exercise bike. Like, it wasn't a shock he may have other things on his mind. I remember feeling so frustrated and confused that **nobody else** could see how obvious it was. Looking back, obviously my supervisors weren't completely closed off to the concept, but at the time it seemed to me like the world wasn't really seeing him as a person. I was confronted by the fact that we weren't taking a broader approach to therapy and was annoyed that this service was not the place to be able to offer that. I remember a switch shifting in my mind and mentally stamping my foot like a defiant two year old, deciding that "i'll start one myself then". As soon as I learn what the heck an Occupational Therapist is!

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Want to know the best part? 

Integrated OT is no 'one-man-band'

What makes us great is our truly awesome team. 

 
 
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WHAT KEEPS US GOING?

My reasons for doing this have changed over time as the role of our business has grown. When I was working directly with clients and their supporters, the thing that lit me up the most was when something seemingly simple for most, but terribly challenging for the client was achieved...like helping a client connect with a parent or a sibling during an activity, and the look of surprise and heartfelt thanks you would get from the parent while this is happening. Or the 'happy dance' that you do inside your head when your client successfully buys a casual pass to go into the gym on their own and navigates the conversation to do this so well - and being able to report this back to the parents waiting at home to hear if everything went well.

 

These days my reasons are a little different. I still love to live vicariously through the other therapists and hear about all their challenges and wins that they have with their clients. But for me now, my focus is on how I play a bigger game. Being the director of Integrated OT is a launchpad for me to impact lots of lives, and the way I can do this is through an amazing team. Day to day, I love seeing my therapists come up with the most creative ideas and ways to support their clients in achieving goals. I get a lot of satisfaction out of supporting the therapists' growth and building their own infrastructure to be resilient and original in how they bring their unique personality to their work.

If you can't already tell, I love chatting with people. If you'd like to get in touch, then drop me a line - katie@integratedot.com.au 

Here's to being strong and independent,

Katie