The role of occupational therapy is to work with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence.

The ability to perceive, desire, recall, plan and carry out roles, routines, tasks and sub-tasks for the purpose of self-maintenance, productivity or leisure in response to the internal or external environment. Occupational therapy is about helping people do the day-to-day tasks that occupy their time, sustain themselves, and enable them to contribute to the community. Occupational therapy also helps people to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and career skills.

Occupational therapists assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking, and eating. Physical exercises may be used to increase dexterity while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns. For example, a client with short-term memory loss might be encouraged to make lists to aid recall, and a person with coordination problems might be assigned exercises to improve hand-eye coordination.

Occupational therapists also use computers programs to help clients improve decision-making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing, and coordination, all of which are important for independent living. Occupational therapists are often skilled in psychological strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and play an important role in the recovery process of individuals suffering from addiction, with the ultimate goal being to successfully reenter the workforce as a productive, responsible and contributing member of society.