Occupational Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

Our specialist mental health occupational therapists provide therapy online for people with substance use disorders. 

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 substance use disorders?

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 benefit people with substance use disorders in several ways:

1. Skill development: Occupational therapists can help individuals develop the necessary skills to engage in meaningful and productive activities. This includes teaching skills like time management, budgeting, problem-solving, and decision-making, which are essential for overcoming substance abuse.

2. Identifying triggers and coping strategies: Occupational therapists can assist in identifying the triggers that contribute to substance use and teach individuals coping strategies to manage them effectively. They can help clients recognize high-risk situations and develop healthier alternatives to deal with stress, anxiety, and cravings.

3. Addressing co-occurring mental health conditions: Substance use disorders often co-occur with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Occupational therapists can provide mental health support and therapy to address these underlying conditions, promoting overall well-being and reducing the risk of relapse.

4. Building a healthy routine: Substance abuse often disrupts an individual’s daily routine and overall lifestyle. Occupational therapists can guide individuals in structuring their day, setting realistic goals, and creating a routine that promotes engagement in healthy and meaningful activities. This helps them avoid idleness and boredom, which can be triggers for substance use.

5. Improving social skills and support: Occupational therapists can facilitate group therapy sessions or support groups to enhance social skills, promote peer support, and create healthy social connections. These sessions provide a safe space for individuals to share experiences, express emotions, and develop a support network that encourages recovery.

6. Promoting leisure and recreational engagement: Substance use often leads to a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Occupational therapists can reintroduce individuals to leisure and recreational activities that promote relaxation, stress reduction, and a sense of purpose. By engaging in meaningful activities, individuals can find fulfillment and satisfaction without relying on substances.

Overall, occupational therapy can play a vital role in helping individuals with substance use disorders overcome addiction, develop healthier lifestyles, and improve overall well-being.

Occupational therapy assessments for substance use disorders

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 substance use disorders 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.