The 11 Best Occupational Therapy Quotes
If you’ve been practicing occupational therapy for a few years, it’s totally normal to feel a bit burned out from time to time.
A great way to feel recharged about occupational therapy is to take yourself back to why you became an OT practitioner in the first place.
It’s also fun to read about others’ occupational therapy paths and thoughts about the profession, and what better way to do this than to learn about some great occupational therapy quotes from several amazing occupational therapists!
So for this article, I compiled my 11 favorite occupational therapy quotes to help you feel proud and excited to be an OT practitioner. I hope these make you feel as inspired and recharged about OT as they did for me!
“Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health.” Mary Reilly, EdD
I’m pretty sure this is the most well-known occupational therapy quote, from Mary Reilly’s 1962 Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture. This quote encompasses occupational therapy so well, as it really emphasizes how valuable meaningful occupation is for everyone. To learn more about Dr. Mary Reilly, be sure to check out her inspiring bio from USC’s Occupational Therapy Department.
“Occupational therapy practitioners help people live life to its fullest-no matter what. They provide practical solutions for success in everyday living and help people alter how they arrange their daily activities to maximize function, vitality, and productivity.” Florence Clark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Florence Clark is another occupational therapy visionary who gave us this great quote that gives a solid definition of what occupational therapists are able to do for people. This quote is such a great one to add to your OT elevator pitch! To learn more about Dr. Clark and her achievements in the OT world, you can read her USC Faculty page here.
“Occupational therapy practitioners ask, “What matters to you?” not, “What’s the matter with you?” Virginia “Ginny” Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA
I love this quote from former AOTA president Ginny Stoffel. It really shows how occupational therapy truly is a client-centered profession that emphasizes the person’s wants and needs, without just focusing on their medical diagnosis.
“Occupational therapy is more than a job. For many it is a calling. We felt drawn to it.” Amy Lamb, OTD, OT/L, FAOTA
I couldn’t agree more with former AOTA president Amy Lamb’s thoughts on how and why many of us became OT practitioners in the first place. I feel this is so true for so many of us, and I never get tired of hearing what drew OTs to our great profession. If you feel like sharing, let us know in the comments what drew you to OT!
For me, I discovered OT while working as an inpatient rehab nurse’s assistant in college, and was so inspired by the progress my patients were making with their OTs and I knew I wanted to be a part of that!
“Occupational therapy. Hopeless into hope. Can’t into can. Impossible into possible.” Valerie Pena, OTR
This quote says it all. With our patient education and interventions, it is amazing how occupational therapy can truly change peoples’ lives for the better even after a devastating illness or injury.
“Occupational therapy. Arguably the most empowering, creative, holistic and meaning-enhancing healthcare profession. We are proud to put on that uniform, follow models of practice, client-centered outcome measures and prioritize active engagement in self-care, productivity and leisure. We are occupational therapists. Adding life to days.” Jamie Grant, OT
This is a another great synopsis of occupational therapy from Jamie Grant, UK-based occupational therapist and founder of the Occupational Therapy Hub. I wholeheartedly agree that OTs truly are some of the most creative and holistic healthcare providers, which is one my favorite aspects about our profession.
“Medicine adds days to life, occupational therapy adds life to days.” Unknown
This quote is another one of my personal favorite OT quotes. I believe that occupational therapy is one of the only medical professions that truly focuses on a person’s quality of life versus strictly on their medical outcomes.
“Occupational therapy is where science, creativity and compassion collide.” Jessica Kensky
This is such a great quote, from Jessica Kenksy’s 2016 AOTA Welcome Ceremony keynote speech, that you can watch in full here. While Jessica is not an OT herself, she is an RN and a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. She and her husband Patrick both received OT services after they each had leg amputations, which played a large role in their recovery.
Her quote is a beautiful way to show that OTs are more than just about the science and research. We are able to make a meaningful impact and do so much more with our creativity and holistic nature.
“Life takes on meaning in the minute-by-minute reality in which we experience ourselves achieving ordinary things.” Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA
This quote is from Dr. Gary Kielhofner, whose name you may recognize from OT school as the creator of the MOHO frame of reference. His quote here is so relevant to OT, and makes me think of the excitement I get with my patients when they make even small gains toward their recovery. This could be a new hand movement after a stroke or a new ability to stand up from their hospital bed for the first time after a prolonged hospitalization.
Even after over seven years of practicing OT, I still get so much joy with these typically “ordinary” life activities.
“Occupational therapy practitioners know that hope still glimmers in the darkest hour.” Unknown
This one also says it all. With a new life change from illness or injury, OTs are some of the first ones to help instill hope to people that even during the hardest life events, there is hope of recovery and a chance to keep living life to the fullest.
“Occupational therapy combines science, art and a creative spirit, and I truly feel that occupational therapy changes lives.” Mandy Chamberlain, OTR/L
I love this quote from my friend and fellow OT blogger and entrepreneur Mandy Chamberlain, who is an amazing adult-based OT and the founder of OT Flourish. This quote is from her interview with Saebo, that you can read in full here.
“Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.” American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
And for our last OT quote, I wanted to finish with this classic from AOTA that sums up what occupational therapists do succinctly and to the point. You can read more from AOTA about what OT is here. This quote is another great one to consider adding to your OT elevator pitch!
I really hope you enjoyed these inspiring OT quotes! I know there are so many more great ones out there, so please always feel free to share your favorite occupational therapy quotes in the comments below so I can keep adding to the list!
And of course, please feel free to share these to spread that OT inspiration around!
This post was originally published on August 4, 2020 and updated on April 24, 2023.
Love this post! If your aim was inspiration, jJob done! Thank you.
Thanks, Michelle! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
QT is a highly professional ministry.
It’s a calling, not a career.
Meeting needs and touching lives.
#12 Occupational therapy isn’t just about helping others live more meaningful lives. It’s about helping others feel that their lives are meaningful. – David McCombs OTR. This is a quote from my post on OT and conflict resolution: https://otfocus.com/occupational-therapy-conflict-resolution/
The quotes are wonderful! Thank you. I enjoyed them.
I have found inspiration daily with my students and occasionally DO recall WHY I became an OT. Seeing their faces when they succeed is a joy to experience and share with them.
Thanks so much for sharing, Melodie! I’m sure seeing the happiness and excitement of your students regularly is such a wonderful reminder of why you chose OT 🙂