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Think Therapy 1st set for future through leadership change

Helen Merfield will become chief executive, with Penny Wosalho taking over as managing director



Specialist rehabilitation occupational therapy provider Think Therapy 1st is set to take its growth to the next level through strategic changes to its leadership team. 

TT1st has built a reputation for its commitment to home and community-based multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to rehabilitation, lead by its Specialist Rehab Occupational Therapists (SROT) and to delivering outcomes to clients that exceed all expectations, with a track record of success verified by standardised assessments. 

Having built a strong network of referrers from the insurance, legal and case management world – all impressed by the outcomes and progress it delivers to clients who have sustained life-changing injuries – TT1st continues to grow its team of associate OTs across the country. 

And now, to help propel its ongoing growth to the next level and plan for the future of the business, TT1st is making changes to its top-level team. 

Helen Merfield

Managing director Helen Merfield will become chief executive, with a remit to grow the profile of TT1st and its unique approach to restorative  functional OT, building new relationships and partnerships nationally to build on TT1st’s progress to date. 

Penny Wosahlo, currently director of operations, will become managing director, to oversee and develop the running and logistics of the business and help map out its future growth. 

TT1st has already pioneered a number of initiatives to empower clients to progress in a range of specialist areas – from its Children and Young Adult Service (CAYAS) to its Holistic Education for Living with Pain (HELP) programme – and continues to help redefine the role OTs can play in rehabilitation. 

Now, through its internal structural change, it is set to develop that even further, with Helen – a former military nurse – committed to highlighting the TT1st difference in approaching therapy and rehabilitation. 

“I get so excited about our approach to home and community-based MDT functional rehabilitation  and what these guys can do. They’re like the OTs I worked with in the military, you don’t get this very often in the private sector,” she says. 

“Many OTs take an adaptive and compensatory approach – but for us, the focus is on restorative and rehabilitative OT. Unless you’ve been in the military, people might not have come across functional restoration – but that’s what we are committed to. We only look at compensating or adapting when restoration has been exhausted first, we are focused on functional rehabilitation.

“We help people get their lives back together and to live their best lives. We’ll get people doing what they never thought they could again, even when the doctors have told them they’ll never do something again, if there’s a chance then we’ll go for it. 

“But as well as showing people just why TT1st is different, why our OTs are so amazing, I think one of the big challenges we face is with people not really understanding what OTs are capable of doing, if given the chance – when you use the word ‘occupation’, everyone thinks of work.

Penny Wosalho

“So I feel, in my new role, I want to educate people about what OT is. My big mission is to try and educate the market.”

Having worked closely with Penny for several years, Helen is delighted to now be handing over the MD reins. 

“I feel like Penny and I are like Yin and Yang, she loves all the things I don’t and vice versa, so it’s a totally winning team. We can both focus on what we love and that is going to be amazing for us going forward,” she says. 

Penny, who has worked in the field of OT since graduating in 2002, is excited at the challenge ahead. 

“We’re an OT company run by OTs which is really exciting, and our focus on, and commitment to, rehabilitation is why we are growing as we are,” she says. 

“We are constantly delivering improvements in outcome measures for clients, and are meeting their goals, but as OTs we aren’t very good at taking the credit for that.

“We’re so keen to put the success back onto the client and how hard they’ve worked, but really they couldn’t have done that without the OT’s guidance and formulating how the programme would run. There are so many intrinsic roles we have in the process that sometimes aren’t recognised, because we don’t shine a light on what we do. 

“But with Helen now being able to tell people about what we do and how we do it, educating them about the role we play, she will be illuminating the way for us.

“This is really exciting and I’m really looking forward to working with Helen and the team to take this forward to the next level.”