Occupational Therapy for Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder)

Our specialist mental health occupational therapists provide therapy online for people with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). 

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 trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)?

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 offer several benefits for people with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Here are a few ways occupational therapy can help:

1. Identification of triggers: Occupational therapists can work with individuals to identify the triggers and underlying causes that lead to hair pulling. They help individuals recognize situations, emotions, or thoughts that provoke the urge to pull hair, and develop skills to manage those triggers effectively.

2. Developing coping strategies: Occupational therapists can teach individuals a variety of coping strategies to substitute hair pulling behaviors. These strategies can include deep breathing exercises, stress management techniques, sensory-based interventions, and the use of fidget tools or sensory objects to redirect the urge to pull hair.

3. Habit reversal training: Occupational therapists often employ habit reversal training (HRT), a technique commonly used for managing trichotillomania. HRT involves increasing awareness of hair-pulling behaviors, learning how to interrupt those behaviors, and replacing them with alternative behaviors that are incompatible with hair pulling, such as clenching fists or using specific hand movements.

4. Enhancing self-esteem and self-awareness: Occupational therapists help individuals with trichotillomania build self-esteem and develop a positive self-image. They focus on understanding the impact of hair pulling on an individual’s life and work towards developing self-acceptance, promoting healthy self-care routines, and improving overall self-awareness.

5. Skill development: Occupational therapists can assist individuals in developing new skills and engaging in meaningful activities or hobbies, such as painting, crafting, or playing a musical instrument. These activities help occupy the hands and mind, reducing the opportunity and desire to pull hair.

6. Environmental modifications: Occupational therapists may recommend modifications to the environment to minimize opportunities for hair pulling. They can suggest alternative hairstyles, accessories, or products that make hair pulling less accessible or noticeable, as well as rearranging the environment to reduce stress triggers.

7. Collaborating with other professionals: Occupational therapists often work collaboratively with psychologists, psychiatrists, or behavior therapists to provide comprehensive and integrated care for individuals with trichotillomania. This interdisciplinary approach ensures that individuals receive the most effective and holistic treatment.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of occupational therapy can vary from person to person, and individualized therapy plans are often designed to meet the specific needs of each client.

Occupational therapy assessments for trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder)

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 trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) 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.