Occupational Therapy for Self-Harm

Our specialist mental health occupational therapists provide therapy online for people with self-harm. 

We are a registered NDIS provider and use an inclusive approach to therapy, where the person can be in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

How can occupational therapy benefit people with self-harm?

A mental health occupational therapist is different from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Mental health occupational therapists look at how your condition affects the functional aspects of your life and work with you on ways to improve this.

Occupational therapy can provide several benefits for individuals struggling with self-harm. Here are some ways in which occupational therapy can help:

1. Distracting and engaging activities: Occupational therapists can work with individuals to identify and engage in meaningful activities that provide a distraction from self-harming behaviors. These activities can help occupy their time and shift their focus away from self-harm, reducing the urges or impulses.

2. Coping skills development: Occupational therapists can teach various coping strategies and skills to manage stress, anxiety, and other underlying issues that may contribute to self-harm. This may include techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, art or music therapy, journaling, or other creative outlets that promote self-expression.

3. Emotional regulation and self-awareness: Occupational therapists can help individuals explore and understand their emotions better. They can assist them in identifying triggers, developing self-awareness, and implementing strategies to manage intense emotional states. By recognizing and addressing these emotions early on, individuals can reduce their reliance on self-harming behaviors.

4. Building self-esteem and confidence: Occupational therapy can provide opportunities for individuals to set goals, make progress, and achieve success in various activities. By experiencing accomplishments and developing new skills, individuals can enhance their self-esteem and confidence, which can positively impact their overall well-being and reduce the urge to self-harm.

5. Creating a safe environment: Occupational therapists can assess an individual’s living and working environment and recommend modifications to create a physically and emotionally safe space. These modifications may involve changes in the layout, organization, or sensory aspects of the environment to reduce stress and triggers for self-harm.

6. Developing social skills and support systems: Occupational therapists can provide guidance on how to improve social skills, build healthier relationships, and seek support from others. They may facilitate group therapy sessions or recommend support groups where individuals can connect with peers facing similar challenges, thus reducing feelings of isolation.

7. Collaborating with a holistic treatment plan: Occupational therapists can work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals involved in an individual’s treatment plan, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, or social workers. This interprofessional approach ensures comprehensive care, with each discipline addressing specific aspects of the individual’s needs.

It is important to note that occupational therapy should be integrated into a broader treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of self-harm, such as mental health conditions. The therapy should be personalized and tailored to the individual’s specific needs, goals, and preferences.

Occupational therapy assessments for self-harm

We are able to provide many types of occupational therapy assessments online, including Functional Capacity Assessments (FCA) and reports required for the NDIS. Please see this article for more information on assessments we can provide.

NDIS registered provider

We are a registered NDIS provider and work with self-managed, plan-managed and agency-managed clients. 


If your are an NDIS provider or support coordinator we can provide reliable occupational therapy for clients with self-harm in any location. Refer a client and we’ll connect you to the right clinician. 

Is online occupational therapy effective?

Yes! A growing body of evidence shows that online delivery of therapy can be as effective as face to face. Online therapy has many other benefits too, including being convenient and accessible for people in regional and rural areas.  

How does online occupational therapy work?

At Umbo online therapy is not just zoom plus business-as-usual. It’s much more diverse than simply videoconferencing. Umbo therapists provide an individualised approach to each person, using the latest evidence, and a variety of technologies and engagement techniques.

Umbo champions person-centred therapy. It means the person and their family/support people leads the conversation. We believe that the most effective therapy occurs when support is given in the environment where the person lives, learns, works or plays. Therefore we work with the family, and teach skills to you or to other supporters. This means you’re achieving real-life goals, rather than just achieving goals in a clinic.

We are a certified social enterprise helping Australian families access allied health services.