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Mental Health Occupational Therapists support adults and children to get on with the ‘doing’ of everyday life. That is going to work or school, self-care, having friends or being in relationships, self-expression, having fun and getting on with family.

We work with the priorities for the person, their family and their wider social and work world to teach skills, support problem solving and find ways for that person to participate in their life. We will support changes within the individual but equally there may be changes to their environment and social world that can be made to support them. We take a trauma informed approach, asking what has happened to a person in their life and environment and build a relationship based on trust, choice, predictability and clear communication.

OT’s work with psychologically focused therapies as well as strategies that work more directly with sensory awareness, movement and attention to physiological states for emotional regulation, in other words we work to support the body-mind connection.

OT’s work with play and activity based therapies that are meaningful to the person. At the family/relationship level we can offer parenting skills training, social skills development and psycho education within the family and school environments to improve communication, participation and relationships.

Consider a Mental Health Occupational Therapist for any of the following:
  • Depression or low mood

  • Anxiety leading to avoidance of meaningful and/or necessary activities

  • Emotional dysregulation including deliberate self harm, suicidal ideation, participation in risky behaviors (running away, substance use)

  • Disordered eating and eating disorders

  • Pain management

  • Challenging behaviour in children eg frequent meltdowns and defiance

  • Family/parental exhaustion and burn out

  • Executive functioning difficulties interfering with school or work

  • Sensory processing difficulties ie sensory sensitivity impacting on daily activities

  • Problematic sibling or peer relationships

  • Exploring meaningful roles and building upon social skills and engagement; building independence

Occupational Therapy appointments at The Base Health are an hour long. The fee for appointments is $192.30. You may be entitled to a Medicare rebate with a valid GP Referral and Mental Health Care Plan. The rebate for a mental health care plan is of $82.30 (Gap- $110). The rebate for a chronic disease management plan/team care arrangement referral is $58.30 (Gap- $134).

OT services may be available on your NDIS plan (fee $193.99 per hour). Speak to your NDIS Co-Ordinator or Plan manager for more information.

Sensory Modulation Interventions

Sensory modulation is a therapeutic intervention used by Occupational Therapists at the Base Health.

People receive or ‘sense’ information from their environment or internally from their body: through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, movement, proprioception and interoception. This information is processed through our sensory system which is part of our central nervous system.

Our sensory system helps us to make sense of the world around us, feel safe and relaxed or focused and alert, as well as connect to others and ourselves. It is also a source of much pleasure and fun – it adds ‘spiciness’ to life

Understanding how we process sensory information, what our preferences are and when we may be overwhelmed or missing important information from our senses forms the basis of applying sensory modulation strategies.

Sensory modulation is an evidence based therapeutic intervention that helps people to ‘change how they feel using their senses’.

Sensory modulation can change how we feel:

  • Calming and grounding

  • Increasing alertness and focus

  • Increasing our sense of safety and of being grounded

  • Supporting connection with others

  • An alternative to self harm or addictive substances

  • Coping with pain and injury

Interventions include:

  • Learning about how our brain receives and interprets sensory information and the impact this has on us.

  • Experimenting with different sensory tools (such as weighted cushions, hammock chair, fidget object etc) and complete a sensory profile

  • Assessment to establish individual sensory preferences and needs.

  • Develop an individual “Sensory Plan” for managing sensory information overload if and when this happens throughout the day.

  • Ongoing therapy to establish and integrate sensory-based strategies into everyday life.

Based on the work of Winnie Dunn, Carolyn Fitzgibbon and Julie O’Sullivan and Tina Champagne.


Living Sensationally: Understanding Your Senses. Winnie Dunn (Jessica King Publishers, 2009).

Sensory Modulation Resource Manual: changing how you feel through using your senses. Carolyn Fitzgibbon & Julie O’Sullivan (2018)

Sensory Modulation & Environment: Essential Elements of Occupation, Third Edition. Tina Champagne (Pearson, 2011).

Katrin Gustafson
Katy Lennox
Luke Fulwood
Renee Brady
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