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Occupational Therapy Pain Management Group

The Occupational Therapy Pain Management Group (OTPMG) is a special interest group of the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa – OTASA

Who we are

OTPMG was formed in October 2019 by a group of Occupational Therapists with a special interest in managing people with pain.

Current research suggests that effective management of pain requires a biopsychosocial approach by an interdisciplinary healthcare team. 

Occupational Therapists aim to help people understand their chronic pain from this broad perspective and become successful self-managers of their condition and symptoms. 

Occupational Therapists offer a practical approach to pain management and can integrate a range of interventions and approaches into a comprehensive and do-able long-term plan. 

Our team consists of highly trained and experienced professionals within this field.

Meet our Team

Dershnee Devan

  • Chairperson
  • Qualifications: B Occupational Therapy (UKZN)
  • MSc Medicine (Wits)
  • PG Dip Hand Therapy (UP)
  • PG Dip Int Pain Mgmt (UCT)

Dershnee has 23 years of clinical experience. She has completed a master’s degree in the field of HIV and chronic pain. She has worked in both the public and private sectors including lecturing at the University of Witwatersrand.

She has served as the secretary and council member of PainSA (2012-2021). She has been  part of a multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation practice since early 2020. She is also involved in case management  and vocational rehabilitation with a special interest in chronic pain conditions.

She is passionate about pain education and  loves  teaching students, clinicians and anyone who would listen about it. She believes strongly that occupational therapists  have a really important role to play in the field of pain management. She loves dancing, mountain biking and yoga when she has free time.

Gillian Coetsee

  • Secretary
  • Qualifications: BScOT (Wits)
  • Dip AdvOT (Neurosc) (Wits)
  • Dip Voc Rehab (UP)
  • Dip Hand Therapy (UP)
  • PG Dip Int Pain Mgmt (UCT)

Gill qualified in 1990 and has spent the past 30 odd years working as an OT. Her work experience includes working at Natalspruit Hospital for 4 years (spinal rehabilitation, orthopaedics, plastics, paediatrics and adult neurology),  1 year working in London and Belfast and since then private practice.

Her practice focuses on the treatment of clients with hand injuries and adult neuro and she has a special interest in treatment of pain and preventing persistent pain in the clients that she sees. She is also involved in FCE’s and medico-legal work.

Gill is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge and has been involved in lecturing and external examining for undergrad and post-grad courses and presented many workshops and lectures. Over the years she has been involved in OTASA, INSTOPP, SASHT (past president), IFSHT and now, OTPMG.

She’s very excited about the establishment of OTPMG and having the opportunity to be involved in advancing the role of OT in pain management, sharing knowledge, skills and learning.  Her leisure activities include spending time with her family and friends,  reading, gardening, crochet and she loves the outdoors, camping and scuba diving whenever possible.

Linda Hiemstra

  • Treasurer
  • Qualifications: B.OT (US)
  • Dip Voc Rehab (UP)
  • PG Dip Int Pain Mgmt (UCT)

Linda has worked as an Occupational Therapist, both internationally and locally, since 2003 and has experience in the public and private sectors in a wide variety of disciplines, including orthopaedics, general medicine, geriatrics, neurology, spinal and vocational rehabilitation.

She started her current practice in 2010 and it continues to grow. Her practice forms part of the interdisciplinary team at PAIN, where she forms part of the rehabilitation leadership.

She is passionate about providing quality, holistic service which is in the best interest of the patient, and enjoys providing scientifically sound patient education. Seeing patients realise their own potential and grow into their best lives is what makes being an Occupational Therapist so rewarding.

In her free time, Linda enjoys hiking and photography, spending time with family and friends, and reading.

Helen Roome

  • Marketing/Historian
  • Qualifications: BSc (OT) (Wits)
  • Prac. Diploma Labour Law (UNISA Business centre)
  • MA Theology (Tabor college, AUS)
  • PG Dip. Interdisciplinary Pain Management (UCT)

Helen’s expertise in pain and fatigue management builds on 25+ years of broad clinical experience in adult physical and psychiatric rehabilitation in public and private health settings in Gauteng and KZN.

She has also lectured and presented on health-related topics frequently over the years. She is currently working in independent practice in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, with clients experiencing persistent pain and fatigue. She recently formed the Relieve team with a physiotherapist colleague to offer interdisciplinary pain management. 

Helen has a special interest in Fibromyalgia/Chronic Widespread Pain (and other central sensitization syndromes, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and facilitated an educational support group for sufferers pre-COVID. Bringing the health science together with her Masters in Theology, Helen has a particular interest in the role of spirituality and faith beliefs in pain and fatigue management.

She is a curious life-long-learner and also really tries to practice what she preaches! So, you’ll find her on a hiking trail or in the garden on weekends and behind an easel in the holidays!