We Are Here For You.

We Support You In Your Quest To Be Brave In Restoring Your Health.

We’ve Been There Too.

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Denise LaRocca

OTr/l, OTD, MS

Occupational Therapist

Exercise Physiologist

Pain Rehabilitation Specialist

Well-being coach

Heartfelt Listener

Collector of Small stones


  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), Tufts University, May 2019

  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT), Tufts University, 2017

  • Tufts Advanced Professional Certificate in Hand & Upper Extremity Rehab, 2017

  • Master of Science, Exercise Science/Physiology, University of South Carolina, 1995

  • Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, Ithaca College, 1991


  • IASP - International Association for the Study of Pain

  • APA - American Psychological Association

  • PSIA-East - Professional Ski Instructors of America, Eastern

  • OTAC - Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado

  • WFOT - World Federation of Occupational Therapists

  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association

  • CEPA - Clinical Exercise Physiology Association

  • AACVPR - American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehab

  • ACSM - American College of Sports Medicine

In my personal quest to recover my health I’ve often stopped and asked myself “What if?” and “I wonder…” 

although My outlook and vision was not always clear, being Brave helped me to discover paths that led me in exciting new directions in my life.

Pain has been an unspoken part of my journey since childhood. I attempted to explain my feelings to others, but most of the time I was suffering in silence. Family health issues, a near-death illness, and a traumatic hand injury sent me on a multi-year quest to heal my heart, mind, and body. Digging deep into my personal story and finding people who would listen gave me hope and helped me embrace what is meaningful in my life.

This journey ultimately led me to follow my dream to become an occupational therapist. It’s taken tenacity, perseverance, curiosity, courage, and positive thoughts to continue to pursue my vision. Now as an occupational therapist, I hope to collaborate in heartfelt way with you to help you navigate your life experiences and find meaning and purpose in your everyday activities. I am here to listen to your story and help you discover what possibilities may lie ahead!

Personally, I am a mountain girl at heart. I enjoy exploring the wilderness, engaging in many outdoor activities and endeavors, and experiencing what nature has to offer. I love photography, writing, poetry, drawing, music, and traveling to expand my curiosity about life.

Professional Bio:

Prior to becoming an occupational therapist with advanced training in therapy for persistent pain, Denise had an expansive 18-year career in cardiovascular rehabilitation as a registered clinical exercise physiologist. In acute inpatient/coronary care and outpatient therapy settings, she collaborated with individuals who had complicated, severe heart conditions including heart rhythm issues, heart failure, heart transplantation, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, congenital surgeries and procedures, mechanical assist devices (LVAD), and debilitating pain and angina.

Denise draws on her cardiovascular and pulmonary expertise as an occupational therapist which helps her to bridge the gap between functions of the heart, mind, and body, when working with people with complex pain and health conditions.

In addition, Denise has abilities in working with people with hypertension and cholesterol issues, cancer, immunological conditions, diabetes, fatigue, breathing concerns , depression, anxiety, Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, headaches, migraine pain, spinal cord injury, brain injury/stroke, and persistent health conditions.

Advanced Training:

  • ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist

  • Person-Centered Pain Care for Occupational Therapists - Innovative Tools to Empower People in Pain to Find Meaning, Develop Resilience, and Become the Author of Living Their “Life to Its Fullest”, 8 hour course, Denver, CO, February 2019

  • IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) Conference, Boston, MA, September 2018

  • AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, April, 2018

  • Pain Rehabilitation: An Emerging Specialty for Occupational Therapists, An Innovative Biopsychosocial Model for Treatment and Education, 6 hour Pre-Conference Institute, AOTA National Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, April, 2018

  • Health and Wellness Coach 18-Week Online Certification Training Program, Wellcoaches School of Health and Wellness Coaching, 2011

  • Motivational Interviewing Foundational 6-Week Online Course by Drs. William Miller, Stephen Rollnick, & Theresa Moyers, Psychwire, currently enrolled


Denise is an experienced speaker and educator and is available to present in-services and educational classes or workshops at your location, tailored to fit your audience's needs.



The Pain Conversation: Using Language to Navigate Experiences, Research Presentation, OTAC (Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado), Denver, CO, October 19, 2019

The Pain Conversation: Using Language to Navigate Experiences, Research Presentation, MAOT (Massachusetts Association of Occupational Therapy), Boston, MA, October 25, 2019



Lead With Your Heart, Doctoral Hooding Student Address, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University, Medford, MA, May 2019


The Pain Conversation, Graduate Student Presentation, Tufts University, Medford, MA, March 2018


The "New" Neuroscience Behind Chronic Pain: Implications for Hand Therapy, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, MA, June 2016


Terrific Talk with My Therapist, EBP Social Story for Children with Autism, Tufts University, Medford, MA, September 2015


Facial Masking and Experienced Stigma in Parkinson's Disease, Research Group Poster and Presentation, MAOT Annual Conference, Boston, MA, October 2014

More about the occupational therapy difference

More about re-imagining your life and health

More about our specialized methods

More about conditions treated

Contact Denise