Date of Award

Summer 8-24-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L, Doctoral Coordinator

Second Advisor

Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L, Doctoral Coordinator

Third Advisor

Erin Schwier, EdD, OTD, OTR/L, Program Director

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Human Trafficking, Survivors, Mental Health, Compassion Fatigue


Victims of human trafficking are exposed to traumatic experiences that affect their physical, psychological, cognitive, and social health. As survivors enter the healing stage and progressed in their journey to community reintegration, the complex traumatic experiences may affect their independence with occupational tasks.

This capstone explored the areas where occupational therapy can assist with community reintegration for survivors of human trafficking. Interviews were conducted through casual conversation using the modified Canadian Occupational Therapy Measure, (COPM) as guidance, and the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) was used to gather baseline data.

Survivors identified priorities of their everyday living and the barriers to them achieving their goals: education, vocation, transportation, health, leisure, and healthy relationships. The essential staff working with clients identified the same concerns as clients and concerns for the staff’s emotional and cognitive health due to emotional exposure to client trauma.

A program was developed to guide survivors in vocation, education, physical health, and emotional health to promote independence and autonomy. A separate program was developed to guide staff into emotionally supportive conversations and encourage reflective program meetings to reduce the risk of compassion fatigue.


Capstone project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.