Katie Crosby is a pediatric occupational therapist focusing on personal development and root emotions/behaviors for both kids and adults (with or without kids).
With a strong social media presence Katie creates and shares content through various channels such as her own website, Podcast, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Read on to learn how she became an OT and what advice she has for practitioners currently wanting to build their social media presence.
What was your first exposure to occupational therapy and what lead you to pursue it as a career?
My first exposure to OT was talking to a claimant while working for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. He talked about his daughter who, in the height of the recession of 2008, was traveling the world educating automative factories on ergonomis for employees. I was fascinated by the role and started to hear more and more about the occupation – yet it wasn’t until I moved to Chicago for a logistics career that I stumbled upon a pediatric OT setting and knew my heart was there. I lost my brother to suicide and was passionate about guiding kids and adolescents – then all humans – along this often challenging life journey. My now husband was living on the property of the OT clinic, introduced me to the owner who is now a friend and mentor, and shortly after I switched careers and made the leap to OT.
How long have you been a licensed OT? What settings and populations do you have experience working with?
I have been at that clinic since 2012 and went back to school along the way. I have experience working with inpatient and outpatient mental health for kids, adolescents, and adults, private practice pediatric OT, Early Intervention ages 0-3 in the home, and inpatient rehabilitation ages 5 weeks – 99. Before OT, I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter working with kids while their mothers were in counseling. That and decades of nannying and babysitting was likely my biggest preparation for this career, although I didn’t know it at the time.
What type of setting do you work in now, and what does a typical week look like for you?
A typical week now is a ton of variety – I spend about three days a week at a private practice clients on site in person in a sensory motor based setting full of climbing walls, trampolines, equipment and objects that encourages exploration, play, and intrinsic motivation. It is a big old house converted to a clinic so it feels more like a home than a medical setting – all about soothing the nervous system from the inside out. My days there are full of client meetings, learning with coworkers and mentors, and sessions with kids and caregivers.
Remaining days, I’m predominantly meeting with Thriving Littles clients, virtual consultation, and educating via social media channels, course creation, and an upcoming membership program. A recovering true workaholic, I am all kinds of intentional about taking “regulation” breaks and feel so fortunate for work that aligns with this lifestyle: a walk around the block, stop to get coffee or tea and connect with my favorite baristas and people in the community, visits with friends, and starting the day with movement and calm are my go-to’s and help me be a kinder human overall.
Why did you decide to focus on personal development and root emotions for children and adults?
The more I worked with kids the more I realize it’s so much about us as the adults – how we model, manage our daily lives, where we find meaning. My personal development journey and my own history with trauma hugely overlaps with my work and the combination felt natural – it was exciting when many connected with that. The combination of child development, exploration of childhood and attachment patterns, and checking ourselves moment to moment via consciousness practice has enriched my practice. I spent a long time detached from my emotions and connecting with them – owning that we are emotional beings – has really transformed my life and sense of vitality and meaning. It’s a gift to share that.
What is your favorite thing about being an OT? What do you find most challenging?
My favorite thing about OT is the broad scope it covers – because we are client centered, meeting others where they are allows me to learn a ton about other perspectives and constantly challenge myself. Most challenging is the personal emotional regulation work involved – the greatest benefit and challenge all in one. It is WORK to do this work and consistently check in versus fall into burnout or detachment.
You have grown a large social media following. How did you get started?
I started Thriving Littles because I was reading all of these mainstream “parenting” books to know what to recommend to families, and I decided posting clippings would help me keep track of which books were which. I planned to be anonymous and never show my face – didn’t turn out that way! It’s been ongoing practice working through my fear of being seen and heard.
Is it difficult to balance your career as an OT and your social media presence?
Up until last month I was working full time at the clinic in addition to all things online and it was bonkers. My body, mind, and soul were ready for a shift and the transition has been terrifying and liberating all in one.
Do you have any advice for an OT who is just starting to share content online via Instagram or website?
5 Tips for an OT just getting online:
- Create original content: creatively connect the dots on work and theories you love; the way you say and do it will be different from anyone else.
- Trust your instincts. There’s only one YOU and that’s your advantage. If you aren’t sure what your instincts are, take action again and again and they will come. Anytime you feel fear, accept it, add love, then do it anyway.
- Be consistent – e.g. if you’re serious about reaching a large audience posting 5x a week is an ambitious yet sensical number.
- Develop relationships with accounts you align with. Seeing others, spreading love to others matters whether in person or in this wild virtual space.
- Ditch perfection – better done than perfect. Perfection is out, authenticity is in. That video you think you shouldn’t share because you don’t look a certain way, bags under eyes, hair tossed, disheveled? Post it – feel the freedom that comes with being imperfectly who we are.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years – 2030, whoa – I hope to embody sensations of love, compassion, hope, and vitality. To be surrounded by community, a handful of deep authentic relationships, my favorite animals and lots of plants. Beyond that, I trust the universe knows what I need beyond anything I could envision.
Quote to live by.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
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