Kiera Stevenson is a Senior Occupational Therapist and Dance Movement Psychotherapist at Christchurch Group. Kiera has a BSc Hons in Occupational Therapy and a MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy, as well as being a Clinical Educator for Occupational Therapy.
Based at Woodlands in York, Kiera facilitates patient assessments and therapy sessions, supporting individuals with everyday tasks to promote their independence and improve their quality of life. We spoke to Kiera to find out more about occupational therapy and dance movement therapy at Christchurch Group.
“My day is timetabled, with sessions booked in so residents and staff know what is happening throughout the day. As I have a dual role, my days vary. On a day when I am focusing on Occupational Therapy, the morning I might start with a personal care intervention, helping residents to independently get washed and dressed. Or, I may work in the gym, working on someone’s upper limb movement or in the kitchen helping somebody make breakfast. I carry out about four sessions with different individuals in the morning, helping to promote independence where possible.
At lunchtime, I mostly try to schedule a session helping residents independently make their own lunch, before I have my own break. During the afternoon, I’ll see another four or five people, perhaps going to the local community shops or helping them to find a comfortable posture and seating position.
On the days I’m working as a Dance Movement Psychotherapist, following the handover I set up my movement psychotherapy room. This involves making the room totally private, to ensure the therapy is totally confidential. I use movement as a basis for communication and expression, using body movement and dance to help an individual integrate emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self. I see about five patients during the day and perhaps a group of people in the afternoon as a group session. Dance Movement Psychotherapy can Increase self-confidence and help individuals express or manage their overwhelming feelings or thoughts.
One of the most challenging things about my job is seeing individuals come to terms with their condition and realising how it will affect their life. Sometimes the person may find this very hard and it takes time to work through things together. It is rewarding when we make it to the goal in the end. Observing and being a part of the positive progress my residents have made is guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
To do this job you need creativity, patience and confidence. Being a part of such a caring and enthusiastic team – who are all so motivated by patient improvement and willing to help in anyway – gives me confidence in the enormous difference we can make for our residents.
In the future, I’d like to progress in my Occupational Therapy career and specialize further. I’d also like to set up my own Dance Movement Psychotherapy practice to allow people of all abilities and conditions in the community access the supportive therapy. I’d also like to have the experience of continuing my clinical practice in another country.”