Recreation Therapy Philosophy

In 2008, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and a minor in Psychology. I have worked with diverse population including seniors, children with disabilities, psychiatric patients, and indirectly with soldiers. Although these experiences were valuable, I have found that having this knowledge has been even more beneficial for me personally. If you’d like to learn more, please check out the linked information here.

Therapeutic recreation, also known as recreation therapy, involves working with individuals of all abilities or disabilities to enhance their daily living skills. Skills and outlets that are needed to function in life are by social, emotional, physical, and psychological recreational activities. In essence, it combines the freedom and imagination of recreation with the well-being and healing of therapy, creating a holistic plan to rejuvenate and re-create.

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 recreation therapy, it gave me purpose and clarity when I struggled 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 therapy, 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. Recreation therapy 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. However, when observing it from a personal standpoint; you, me, we- are all worthy of re-creating and find a way to heals the soul! I hope this inspires you, if even just long enough to get outside and get some fresh air.

If you are struggling to find a recreation therapist or need advice about therapeutic recreation, contact me, I will help you find someone in your area. 

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