The role of Occupational Therapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Session details



12:00pm - 1:30pm (Toronto time)


Zoom videoconferencing

Didactic presentation by:

Megan Edgelow

Session objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe occupational therapy practice with PSPs who have PTSD
  2. Explain how occupational therapists and other healthcare practitioners can collaboratively support a PSP to return to work (RTW)

Session resources

Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is a unique approach to psychotherapy. ART is unique because the ART Therapist guides the client to replace the negative images in the mind that cause the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress with positive images of the client’s choosing. Source: Rosenzweig Center for Rapid Recovery
Badge of Life Canada
Badge of Life Canada supports Canadian public safety personnel by offering a safe, confidential place where members in crisis can turn for immediate information that can provide hope, growth and recovery to those members who are suffering an operational stress injury, including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and addictions; with access to counselling, including suicide prevention counselling, information and group support programs. Source: Badge of Life Canada
Boots on the Ground
Boots On The Ground is an anonymous helpline providing confidential and anonymous peer support to First Responders across the province, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a charitable organization completely run and staffed by volunteers. Source: Boots on the Ground
Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5)
The CAPS is the gold standard in PTSD assessment. The CAPS-5 is a 30-item structured interview that can be used to make current (past month) diagnosis of PTSD, lifetime diagnosis of PTSD, and assess PTSD symptoms over the past week. Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Cognitive Processing Therapy
CPT is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma. Source: American Psychological Association
Didactic presentation: The Role of Occupational Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
In this presentation, Dr. Megan Edgelow discusses occupational therapy (OT) practice with public safety personnel (PSP) who have PTSD and how occupational therapists and other healthcare practitioners can collaboratively support PSP to return to work.
Download the PDF(954.53 KB)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
A structured therapy that encourages the patient to briefly focus on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements), which is associated with a reduction in the vividness and emotion associated with the trauma memories. Source: American Psychological Association
FD/FR family: Functional disconnection and reconnection in public safety personnel families
Duffy, H., McElheran, M., Stelnicki, A., & Schwartz, K. D. (2024). FD/FR family: Functional disconnection and reconnection in public safety personnel families. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 1–11. Source: Wiley Online Library
Functional disconnection and reconnection: an alternative strategy to stoicism in public safety personnel
McElheran, M., & Stelnicki, A. M. (2021). Functional disconnection and reconnection: an alternative strategy to stoicism in public safety personnel.
European journal of psychotraumatology, 12(1), 1869399. Source: PubMed Central
Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5)
The Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) is a self-report measure designed to screen for potentially traumatic events in a respondent's lifetime. The LEC-5 assesses exposure to 16 events known to potentially result in PTSD or distress and includes one additional item assessing any other extraordinarily stressful event not captured in the first 16 items. Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Prolonged exposure teaches individuals to gradually approach their trauma-related memories, feelings and situations. They presumably learn that trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided. Source: American Psychological Association
PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)
The PCL-5 is a 20-item self-report measure that assesses the 20 DSM-5 symptoms of PTSD. Source: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Reintegration Programs: Innovations and Future Directions
Re-integration programs are designed to assist members of first responder agencies as they strive to return to the normalcy of work after impactful critical incidents, an extended leave of absence from work, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychological injuries. Source: Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
The WSIB provides wage-loss benefits, medical coverage and support to help people get back to work after a work-related injury or illness. Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Wounded Warriors Canada
Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) is a national mental health service provider dedicated to serving Trauma Exposed Organizations, Trauma Exposed Professionals, and their families. WWC specializes in providing culturally informed services that utilize a combination of education, counselling, and training approaches to support resiliency and recovery from post-trauma injuries. Source: Wounded Warriors Canada
WSIB Form 6
Workers Report of Injury/Disease. Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

About presenter

Dr. Megan Edgelow is an occupational therapist who works as a clinician, researcher, and educator. She is an Assistant Professor at Queen's University in the Faculty of Health Sciences, where she teaches and supervises students in the Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Health Leadership, and Health Professions Education Programs.

She has two decades of clinical experience in mental health practice and maintains a small private practice in the Kingston, ON region. She also has research expertise with occupational therapy mental health interventions. In her current research, she focuses on return to work for populations with work-related psychological injuries, including first responders and public safety personnel.

Case presentations

Most of the learning in ECHO happens through presenting and discussing case presentations. If you have a case you would like to present, please submit a completed case presentation form to the ECHO PSP project coordinator.

Physicians presenting a case may bill OHIP for case conferences (billing code K701).