Episode 7: Sex, Intimacy, and OT ft. Kathryn Ellis, MOT, OTR/L

Queer History Lesson of the Day

It is thought that Occupational Therapy dates back as far as 100 BCE, although the profession was not established until 1917. Occupational Therapy (OT) was created on the basis of remediating properties of human occupation, whether that was a result of injury or disability. OT works with physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects of activities of daily living (ADLs). Most commonly, occupational therapists are seen in hospital settings when working with individuals on toileting, dressing, and other key elements of daily life. OT’s are also seen in pediatric settings as well as long term care facilities. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework listed sexual activity as an activity of daily living (ADL) as of 2008. “Occupational therapy is a safe place for addressing sexuality, allowing the client to express fears and concerns, and offering assistance with problem solving. As a basic part of the human condition, sexuality is an ADL addressed with clients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender; older adults; clients with physical disabilities; clients with developmental disabilities or delays; and other recipients of occupational therapy services as part of a holistic approach to treating the whole person,” according to the AOTA.

“The Network for LGBTQIA+ Concerns in OT began in 1992 at the Houston AOTA conference, when a small group of occupational  therapists met to discuss related concerns. Subsequently, regional groups were  organized, and the Network membership grew rapidly. There were 60 people at the  1st annual Network meeting in Seattle in 1993, where officers were elected and  by-laws formed. The following year at the CAN/AM conference in Boston, there  were 120 members in attendance, with a large and continuing group of members  from Canada. We have held membership meetings at AOTA conference every year  since! We now  have a steady membership of about 350, with members from four foreign  countries.”


History of Occupational Therapy. Copyright © 2018. Retrieved: www.topoccupationaltherapyschool.com

Nancy MacRae, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, for the American Occupational Therapy Association. Copyright © 2013 by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Retrieved: www.aota.org

Network for LGBTQIA+ Concerns in OT


What is occupational therapy? How can providers utilize occupational therapists to address sex and intimacy concerns? In today’s episode, we sit down with Kathryn Ellis, the founder of The Institute of Sex, Intimacy, and OT. Kathryn Ellis, MOT, OTR/L is an experienced leader, clinician, educator, and researcher in the field of occupational therapy related to sexual activity and intimate social participation. Kathryn completed her master’s degree in occupational therapy at James Madison University in 2010. In spring 2019, she graduates from Boston University with a post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy. Congratulations Kathryn! In addition, she is a Certified Sexuality Counselor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and co-author of Sex and Intimacy for Wounded Veterans: A Guide to embracing change


Show Notes


Learn more about the Institute of Sex, Intimacy, and Occupational Therapy

Check out Kathryn’s Webinars and Educational Tools: Next up March 6th, 2019!

Follow Sex and Intimacy OT on Instagram

Follow Sex and Intimacy on Twitter

Publications About OT and LGBTQI and Nonbinary Communities

The occupational experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals during the coming out process: An analysis of self acceptance, disclosure, and occupational change

Gender Dysphoria and the Role of Occupational Therapy

Working with transgender clients: Learning from others to improve occupational therapy practice

OT Student Strives to Help LGBTQ Community


Network for LGBTQIA+ Concerns in OT

LGBTQ+ Friendly OTs

RainbOT - provides support & resources to occupational therapists (OTs) & student OTs in the LGBTQA community & those looking to improve service for LGBTQA

LGBT+OT - This website is designed to connect occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and students to resources about LGBTQ+ health and cultural awareness.

Special thanks to the institute of sex, intimacy, and occupational therapy


Assistive Devices for Sexual Activity

MARCH 6TH 2019
8:00 - 9:00 PM EST