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Recreation Therapy

Published on Jul 01, 2016

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Recreation Therapists

Who We Are, What We Do, And How You Too Can Get Lost In Leisure
Photo by NapaneeGal

The Road From Recreation to Therapy

That video inspires me. It reminds me what we do has purpose. I'm going to go into more detail about why Recreation Therapy is successful and growing.


  • 35,000 BC - Art
  • 10,000 BC - Physical Training
  • 2,000 BC - Recreation
  • 359 BC - Gymnasiums
  • 100 BC - Therapeutic Baths & Exercise
  • 100 BC - Activity Treatment Termed
35000 BC Homo Sapiens invent art.

10000 BC Chinese teach disease is due to inactivity and promote physical training

2000 BC Egyptians use recreation as a means of treating the sick.

359 BC Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommends patients use gymnasiums as means of recovering from illness.

100 BC The Roman Asclepiades advocated for massage, therapeutic baths, and exercise. Then recommended activity treatment for patients with mental diseases.
Photo by JackVersloot

...TO Finish

  • 1752 Pennsylvania Hospital
  • 1918 1st Nat. Rec Conference
  • 1942 ARS Formed
  • 1948 ARS Hospital Rec Section
  • 1984 ATRA Established
  • 1971 NTRS & Joint Commission
  • 1982 Utah Licensure
1752 Benjamin Franklin petitions for the establishment of the Pennsylvania Hospital and Benjamin Rush, M.D. advocates “certain kinds of labor, exercise, and amusements be contrived for [patients], which should act for the same time, upon their bodies and minds.” Thus the first welcome of recreation into the modern hospital setting.

1918 First National Recreation Congress is held.

1942 American Recreation Society formed

1948 American Recreation Society, Hospital Recreation Section formed

1971 NTRS Standards of Psychiatric Facilities, which were later incorporated into the Joint Commission Accreditation Manual for Psychiatric Facilities

1982 Utah Title 58 Recreational Therapy Practice Act requiring licensing in that state.
Mental Health has come a long way since paying to view the mentally ill and developmentally or physically disabled in cells…

1984 American Therapeutic Recreation Association Established


  • 5 States Currently Licensed
  • 3 States Seeking Licensing
Currently 5 states require licensure
District of Columbia – Washington DC
New Hampshire
North Carolina

With 3 states seeking licensure
New York

Photo by krossbow


  • Academic Path
  • Equivalency Path
  • Specialty Certification
Academic Path
Completion of Bachelor degree or higher with concentration in Recreational Therapy (Therapeutic Recreation)
Completion of a minimum 14 week / 560 hour internship supervised by a CTRS
Successful completion of the NCTRC Certification Exam

Equivalency Path
Bachelor degree
Specific course work
Paid work experience under a CTRS
Successful completion of the NCTRC Certification Exam

CTRS Specialty Certification
Path A – 75 CEU hours with 3 hours specialty 6 CE hour ,
-5 years in designated field,
-two professional references – one from peer one from supervisor
Path B – Graduate Degree, 1 year full -time professional experience within designated field,
-two professional references – one from peer one from supervisor

Where do you find Recreation Therapists TOday?

Employment of Recreational Therapists are projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom generation ages, they will need Recreational Therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses and to help them maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. [6]
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88.6% female, 11.4% male
Photo by Sam Howzit

Population Served

  • Behavioral/Mental 38%
  • Geriatric 30%
  • Physical Medicine/Disabilities 20%
  • Developmental Disabilities 12%
Photo by abdul / yunir

AGe Served

  • Adults 51%
  • Geriatric 38%
  • Adolescents 8%
  • Children 3%
Photo by daisee

Location Served

  • Hospital 32%
  • SNF & Assisted Living, 23.4%
  • Residential/Out Pts./Day Tx 20%
  • Parks and Rec 4.3%
  • Day Care /Disability Support 5.6%
  • Correctional institution 2.7%
  • Private Practice 2.2%
  • School/Research/Prof. Org 2.4%
Photo by Johan Larsson

What do we do

"Recreation used in a therapeutic way can bring about a positive change in a person by touching all aspects of their life: physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, and emotionally.”

Photo by IamNotUnique

United States Surgeon General
Vivek Murthy:
“Most people think you need to be healthy in order to be happy, but I actually think a lot of times it’s the other way around…spending time with friends, improving social connectedness, exercise…can improve your emotional and mental function.”

Photo by Daniel Y. Go

Recreation Therapists help people by...

Using Their Interests

It goes without saying that you are more likely to be engaged in an activity that interests you. By taking the time to think about what you enjoy, you begin the process of taking charge of your care. This is the first step.

Interests when practiced can become skills, skills that can be used to cope.

Something isn't a skill until it comes naturally. You want your coping to come naturally. A response to negative stimuli and emotions.

Using a positive activity, and having a variety to choose from, assists you in better managing your own wellness.

to Create an Experience

With your interests now known we can create an experience to be a part of.

Using your history and background we can set a plan to help you realize how much control you have over your own health.

This is the second step.

The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology.[2]


That's Engaging

Once a person's interests are put into action they will become more engaged in what they are doing.

It's the difference between a therapist setting a goal and the patient setting their own goal.

They set the rules.

This is the third step.

Matthew Zawadzki, assistant professor of psychology with the University of California looked at how the body reacts to leisure activates. Participants were 34% less stressed, 18% percent less sad, and their heart rate dropped, on average, by 3% after engaging in simple leisure tasks. [7]
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and Focus ones goals

Around their self-Efficacy
When you're engaged you can focus on what you want to achieve. What has value to you. What is meaningful.

When these aspects are included in your goals you will find greater success. You will be in control.

Self Efficacy vs. Self Esteem

This is the 4th Step.

It has been proposed that play or recreational activities are outlets of or expression of excess energy, channeling it into socially acceptable activities that fulfill individual as well as societal needs, without need for compulsion, and providing satisfaction and pleasure for the participant.[5]
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With that Efficacy

We set a challenge
A challenge serves as a teaching tool. When we successfully complete a challenge we are empowered when we fail we gain perspective.

Either way a challenge ends it's beneficial to the therapeutic process. We cannot grow without work.

This is the 5th step.

In recreation, success is the goal, but it does not happen right away. It is a process. FAILURE, though uncomfortable, does not have to be bad. Failure is an EXPERIENCE that gives you INFORMATION. Information, not only about where you ended but, more importantly about, where you should begin.

Finding Flow

The Flow process is the 6th step.

Flow is the goal to any activity.
Photo by Don J Schulte

Untitled Slide

Flow Theory
~According to Csikszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. [2]

~A key component of leisure

The Flow Experience

  • Hyper - Focus
  • Merging of Action and Awareness
  • Sense of Personal Control
  • Feel an altered sense of time
  • Experiencing a rewarding activity
The Key components to Flow include.
Photo by SolomonVipe

when mindful of the experience

we play with purpose
All activities are concluded with the 7th and final step, processing.

We Ask: What? So What? Now What?

Recreation Therapists encourage their patients to discuss what just happened in an activity. Did the find Flow of did they end up outside The Zone.

Without processing our therapy is simple play. It's real benefits and learning opportunities forgotten.
Photo by jk+too

“In our leisure we reveal what kind of people we are.” ~ Ovid

We need the chance to process our activities to find out what works for us and what needs to be modified.

Do we lead or follow? Are we distracted easily, impatient, persistent?

We need to this time to learn more about ourselves.

It's time to Re "Create"

an Experience
1. Find the 3x5 card in your folder and give yourself a wellness rating on a scale from 1-10. 10 is the best. 1 is the worst.

2. After I tell you the challenge, rate your self efficacy for that task using the same scale.

3. Try to Find Flow

Rules of the Game

  • Stand in a circle of 10 and join hands.
  • As a team set a goal for how long it will take you to move the hula hoop around the circle without breaking hands with the person next to you.
  • Once the hoop has made it back to the starting person yell out, as a team, “I love Recreation!”

Untitled Slide

1. Rate your wellness

2. If you were asked to do this again how would your efficacy score change?

3. What were your barriers?

4. What were your strengths?

5. Did any of you stand out as leaders or as listeners? At what times?

6. Did any of you get lost in the flow of the challenge? If not, why not?

7. Did any of you succeed?

8. Did any of you fail?

American author William Lyon Phelps said, “Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation – what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.”

Photo by ginnerobot

Here's to your happiness!

Photo by Alain Limoges

Untitled Slide

Photo by nateOne

Csikszentmihalyi, M.
Bruce C. Daniels (1995). Puritans at Play. Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England. St. Martin's Press, New York. p. xi. ISBN 0-312-12500-3.

Moon-Suk Lee, PhD, Byung-Jun Cho, PhD, Cyung0Hun Min, MD, Seon-rye Kim, PhD

NCTRC – Demogrpahics www.nctrc.org

Yukic TS, 1970, page 3f


Zawadzki, M. www.npr.ord/blogs/health/2015/04/20/40040194/mellow-pasttimes-can-be-good-for-your-health-too