Occupational Lifestyle Redesign Programme

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Falloy
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01 Nov 2015, 6:04 pm

Hi,

I live in the UK and I have been diagnosed as having mild Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I've also suffered from anxiety and depression all my life. Things have been tough recently so I saw my doctor and I have been referred to mental health services.

The mental health trust want me to go on twenty week group course which their paperwork calls an "Occupation Matters Programme" which was "inspired by the research of Dr Florence Clarke and her colleagues at the University of Southern California". That programme was called "Occupational Lifestyle Redesign".

Has anybody heard of this or been on such a course? I am not entirely certain it is what I need but I don't want to turn down treatment that is offered.

The handout I was given states that the course "will focus on a number of key areas which include Occupation, Community, Meals, Time, Transport, Finance, Being Active and Relationships". This sounds to me as though the course is perhaps aimed at people with learning disabilities and is focused on the necessities of everyday living. I fear that it may not address the specific problems that I face (I do not know whether there will even be any other people on the autism spectrum in the group- from what I understand they have a range of conditions).

It has been stressed that I'm not at liberty to try the course and then drop out - I need to commit to the full 20 weeks.

The aspect of it I can see being useful is simply getting to know some other people who are finding life difficult. With this in mind I have agreed to go on the course. I can seem myself getting rather angry though if I'm going to be lectured on how to use public transport (I commute 6 days a week) or why an apple is better for me than a bar of chocolate.

Has anybody been on a course like this or had any other group therapy? Would you go on this course if it were offered to you?

Thanks.



btbnnyr
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01 Nov 2015, 6:52 pm

Looking at USC center for occupational therapy website, this kind of program seems to be for people who had some serious medical problems or injuries perhaps life-changing issues, and this program will help them transition back to their lives and how to live with the problems which may be continuing for life. Why don't you ask to make sure if the program is suited to intellectually abled and able-bodied people like you? What would you learn from it? What are you trying to learn? You don't have to sign up for any program offered if it doesn't fit you.


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Falloy
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03 Nov 2015, 5:08 pm

^ Thanks for your reply btbnnyr. I have spoken to the course organisers about whether the course is suitable for me- the discussion got a bit heated in fact. They know that I am able-bodied and am working full time and functioning in society (just about). It looks rather like a "healthy lifestyles" programme with extra bits bolted on and I think I might get some benefit from a healthy lifestyles programme - or at least I might benefit from meeting some people who are in the same position as I am. Meeting other people who are also finding life a bit of a challenge is the main thing I hope to achieve from the course.

They also seem very "goal" orientated. I don't really have any goals - I don't know what there is that I can realistically achieve. Perhaps I can work out some goals there.



BirdInFlight
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04 Nov 2015, 7:14 am

I don't know anything about this course, but I'm worried by the idea that dropping out in the middle of it is not allowed/optional -- what will they do? Charge you a penalty fee, put sanctions on any government benefits such as if you have reduced council tax or working tax credits? It just sounds worrying to me, that they insist that if you start the course you must finish it. That worries me. Because you don't know what it even is, or if it's going to be useless and a waste of time for you, patronizing, stressful or even causing shutdown or meltdown. I like to know that I can remove myself from a situation if I need to because I'm finding I'm unable to cope with it in one way or another, or if it isn't working for me.

Personally I'm not a fan of courses and groups.


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Falloy
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05 Nov 2015, 4:52 pm

^ Hi BirdInFlight,

I don't claim any benefits so they can't dock them and I'm not aware that the NHS can claim penalty fees (yet). The worst they could do would be to put a note on my medical records that I failed to complete the course and this may count against me in any future claims I might make concerning disability as I had declined "treatment".

I don't think that the course will cause me stress but I will have to make arrangements to take time off work and I can see that I could find it patronising if they, for example, march us down to the supermarket and tell us what is healthy to eat and what isn't. That really isn't the near the core of my problems. I can see that sort of thing making me rather angry.

I once attended group therapy when I was in my early twenties and I didn't find it very helpful - everybody had very different problems and we were entirely wrapped up in them. There wasn't an awful lot that we shared.

I rather think that the trust has invested in this programme and they are now desperate to get people to go on it so they are giving places to everyone they can. I'm also guessing that it's cheaper than offering one-to-one psychotherapy.

I will give it a go though. I'll give it my best. I will jack it in though if I feel that they are trying to teach me to suck eggs.



Falloy
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10 Dec 2015, 5:44 pm

I've been going to to this course now for two weeks.

Sadly it's been exactly what I feared - it's very simplistic. Offensively so.

It does not appear to be aimed at people like me who have some structure to their lives and are getting up early, going to work, doing household chores and so on.

They seem to have adopted the "Peter Jackson's Hobbit" approach of spreading a small amount of material out very thinly, It has taken us four hours so far to come to the conclusion that "doing things you enjoy is good for your mental health".

I don't think I've make myself popular with the Occupational Therapists by stating that I think the group is simplistic. Feeling I'm disliked makes me not want to contribute - I just sit there and sulk. (To be honest if I contributed my heart out I don't know what would change).

I'm getting more and more angry because I think the group is not going to take serious issues I have but instead is going to concentrate on things that don't affect me.

I'm not going to last the course. I'll give it one more week...