What is therapeutic recreation or recreation therapy? It’s a process of working with people with any ability or disability to improve skills and activities of daily living through social, emotional physical, and psychological recreation plan. To put it briefly, recreation is freedom and imagination. Therapy is well being and healing. Therapeutic recreation is a comprehensive plan to re-create.
My bachelors is therapeutic recreation. I earned it in 2008 along with a minor in Psychology. Before deciding to officially stay home with my children full time, I’ve worked with seniors, kids with disabilities, psychiatric patients and indirectly with soldiers. None of those compare to the benefits of having that knowledge for myself. You can read a little more about that here.
The umbrella of recreation therapy industries and the two most recognized, are ARTS and NCTRC for certification and membership. According to NCTRC it’s a “systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.” Going further into specifics, ARTS states that “Recreational therapy includes, but is not limited to, providing treatment services and recreation activities to individuals using a variety of techniques including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community outings.”
Having worked and been educated in therapeutic recreation gave me purpose and clarity when I was struggling to find it. My personal therapeutic recreation philosophy statement written as a part of my portfolio in college still stands today. It’s a formal view on how we as therapist approach patients in the therapeutic recreation field.
“Any and all human beings should have the right to be treated in a dignified manner through recreation, regardless their age, sex, religion, condition of life or physical and mental abilities. All should have equal opportunities to pursue and fulfill a recreation and leisure lifestyle. Everyone should be able to explore and express one self and gain a sense of happiness, creativity, or accomplishment, but not limited to these. Leisure is freedom and should be valued as a blessing. There should be very few time constraints and no drudgery involved.
Programs should be designed for the participant in mind. They can be more catered to the needs according to each individual or may appeal to a full spectrum of people in a particular group. Each person should be able to reach their maximum potential. Programs should allow every participant accessible and affordable entrance and continuation. They should be environmentally conscious while always remaining safe for everyone involved.”
It’s quite a literal plan for people in a clinical setting, but when observing it from a personal standpoint, you, me, we- are all worthy of re-creating. It heals the soul! I hope this inspires you, even for just a minute!
If you are struggling to find a therapist, plan or need advice about therapeutic recreation, contact me.