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OTS 115: Going Beyond Trauma-Informed Care

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 115 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase trauma responsive?

This concept goes beyond trauma-informed care. Tune in to hear Dr. Gibbs speak about her book, Trauma Treatment in Action, and how as OTPs, we need to be more responsive to the needs of a client regarding their mental health, just as if we were working with someone who had a stroke or other physical ailment.

Tune in to learn the following objectives:

  • Learners will identify the five dimensions of trauma and how to use these in practice.

  • Learners will identify what ACTION is and how it can be used in OT.

  • Learners will identify how an OTP can address mental health with a student.

Guest Bio

Varleisha D. Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L

Varleisha D. Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L, is the Vice President of Practice Engagement and Capacity Building at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She previously served as the Scientific Programs Officer at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

Dr. Gibbs is an occupational therapist, international lecturer, researcher, and author. Her areas of expertise include neuroanatomy, self-regulation strategies across the lifespan, health inequities, and trauma-responsive approaches. Dr. Gibbs founded and operated a private therapy firm for over 10 years.

Dr. Gibbs began her career after receiving her baccalaureate degree in Psychology from the University of Delaware. She continued her studies in the field of Occupational Therapy, receiving a Masters of Science degree from Columbia University and a clinical doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Gibbs completed her Ph.D. program in Health Sciences Leadership at Seton Hall University.

Memorable Quotes from this Episode

“Mental health is something that we all have. That’s not a disorder… Everyone requires support. There are social drivers that could lead us to healthy outcomes or adverse outcomes” - Varleisha Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L

“That's what we do… occupation is about the doing and the being. And we need to make sure that we're not just informed, but that we are addressing trauma in a responsive manner” - Varleisha Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L

“I really don't know any other profession that does this. We look at the person. But we also look at the context and environment” - Varleisha Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L

“Growth could happen at any moment. Despite the child that may have a severe diagnoses, they can still show some growth on that hierarchy” - Varleisha Gibbs, Ph.D., OTD, OTR/L

"We need to keep in mind that we're supporting their students and we're doing the best job that we can do. But we also have to be mindful about their own mental health and how they are perceiving the IEP process in itself” - Jayson Davies, M.A, OTR/L

“If we don't start to use that language that relates to mental and behavioral health, then we will continue to not have that seat at the table” - Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L


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