Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Hanson


Occupational Therapy -- methods; Substance-Related Disorders -- psychology; Substance-Related Disorders -- therapy; Young Adult


The purpose of this scholarly project was to develop an evidence-based 12-session group protocol for occupational therapists (OTs) to use in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for substance abuse. The target population for this scholarly project was young adults aged 18-25 who have illicit drug use issues. Guided by concepts of the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), the protocol targeted common occupational performance and deficit issues encountered by individuals with substance use. The authors first observed one, 3-hour IOP session at Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC) and participated in one, two-hour meeting with the director of substance abuse programing at CWCC to obtain information about addiction recovery from other professions and the IOP structure. Information gathered was compared to findings from a literature search and a12-session guide was developed for OT services to complement existing programming provided at CWCC.

Each session protocol was designed to be held in one, three-hour group session and includes objectives, warm-up activities, an occupational focused activity, prompting questions for discussion, a wrap-up, and a take home activity. Each session builds off one another and the take home activities are intended to integrate the participant into the next session. Session topics include: 1) exploring addiction as an occupation 2) occupational exploration 3) coping skills through sensory stimulation 4) spirituality and coping 5) time management and scheduling 6) healthy habits: ADLs, sleep/rest, nutrition 7) leisure identification 8) roles and routines, productive education/work 9) intimacy and social participation 10) social participation and anger 11) daily coping skills with stress and recovery 12) takin’ care of business: how to get what you want.

This scholarly project provides a foundational program to be used as a starting point for occupational therapy intervention in an intensive outpatient chemical dependency program. The protocol might be applied beyond the IOP structure to settings such as acute inpatient, state hospital, or long-term mental health facilities. Elements of the program might also be altered for application to alternative populations such as individuals over age 25, those with alcoholism, or those with other various drug dependencies. In summary, this scholarly project provides a theoretical model, occupation-based interventions, an extensive literature review, and an opportunity for future research and clinical development based on the role of OT in an IOP for substance abuse recovery.