Occupational Therapy Program

Susan Noyes PhD, OTR/L

MOT Program Coordinator, Associate Professor
Susan Noyes headshot

Office Location




Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Adult Learning, Lesley University
  • MS in Adult Education, University of Southern Maine
  • BS in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 1984


Susan chose a career in occupational therapy to work in adult rehabilitation,  but had such an amazing Level II fieldwork experience in mental health that she has practiced in that area for over 30 years. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient units, outpatient clinics, day treatment programs, and community residential facilities, as well as numerous grant-funded projects.

Susan has taught in the USM MOT program since 2006. She teaches the mental health practice course as well as courses in research and evidence-based practice, OT theory, the reflective OT practitioner, group process, cognition and perception, and level I and II fieldwork seminars.

Susan’s scholarly interests include improving quality of life for adults with serious, persistent mental illness; developing occupational therapy assessment and intervention with adults who have hoarding disorder; and facilitating occupational therapy students to engage in reflective practice and use adult learning principles to develop critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. She is currently conducting a qualitative research study on a volunteer program for people with hoarding disorder. Susan has published and presented on this topic and is a member of the Portland Maine Hoarding Task Force.

When not teaching, Susan enjoys baking, every form of dancing, spending time with her three young adult children and extended family, and crossing various items off her middle-aged bucket list!


Recent Publications

Noyes, S. & Wright, H. (October 2018). Occupational therapy intervention with employment for adults with serious mental illness: A systematic review of the evidence. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. American Occupational Therapy Association: Maryland.

Noyes, S. (January 2018). Anxiety Disorders. In Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Vision for Participation. (2nd edition). Brown, C., Stoffel, V. (Eds.) Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis. 

Noyes, S., van Houten, S. & Wilkins, E. (in press). A ‘Friendly Visitor’ Intervention for Hoarding Behaviors: Participants’ Perceptions. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, American Psychological Association: Washington, D.C. 

Noyes, S. & Wright, H. (in press). AOTA Systematic Review on Adults with Serious Mental Illness. American Occupational Therapy Association: Baltimore, MD.

Peabody, M. & Noyes, S. (2017)Reflective boot camp: Adapting LEGO® Serious Play® in higher education. Reflective Practice, DOI: 10.1080/14623943.2016.1268117 

Noyes, S. (November, 2015). Living in the community with serious mental illness: Occupational therapy’s role in a community residential setting. OT Practice, American Occupational Therapy Association: Maryland.  

Clark, L. & Spear, S. N. (2015). Ethical Leadership. In Occupational Therapy Perspective on Leadership: Theoretical and Practical Dimensions (pp. 75-84). (2nd edition). Dunbar, S., Winston, K. (Eds.) Thorofare, NJ: SLACK.

Spear, S. N. (March 2014). “Friendly visitor”: An occupational therapist’s experience of supporting a person with compulsive hoarding behavior. OT Practice. American Occupational Therapy Association: Maryland               

Professional Activity

Chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) of the American Occupational Therapy Association

Guest Co-Editor, Special Issue on Evidence-based Practice in Mental Health (October 2018), American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT), Baltimore, MD

Founding member, Portland Maine Hoarding Task Force, 2011-present

Reviewer, American Occupational Therapy Association, conference proposals (mental health content) for Annual Conference 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Chair, Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) Annual Program, "Developing a Private Practice in Mental Health Occupational Therapy," American Occupational Therapy Association annual conference, March 2017

Editorial Board member (2015-2018): OT Practice, published by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Baltimore, MD