Recreation Therapy- What is It?

A Recreation Therapist, or also called a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, can work in a huge variety of settings. Individuals can become certified as a recreation therapist through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. They will then use the letters CTRS, for Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

All this is great, and earning letters to put after your name is cool, but what does a CTRS do?
A CTRS uses recreation as a therapeutic intervention to help a person meet his or her goals, and be able to live the fullest life possible. A CTRS can work in community recreation, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, correctional facilities, drug and alcohol rehab, nursing homes, schools and many other locations.

A CTRS meets with the individuals and assesses their needs, strengths, and interests. From that assessment the CTRS will formulate a plan which will include goals and interventions. The CTRS will work with other members of the treatment team to meet overall goals for the individual through the goals each member is working on. An example of this overall goal maybe for the person to return home and be independent. Each part of the team is working towards that goal in different ways. A Recreation therapist will work with the person towards independence at home by using recreation and leisure activities the individual enjoys. An example could be using card games to increase problem solving skills and cognition.

Each goal is dependent on the individual and their needs and strengths. The possibilities are endless. One day a recreation therapist may be taking a patient on a fishing trip, the next day helping someone knit, play golf or sing. A recreation therapist can work with people from birth to death. With the greying of america, the role of recreation therapist in long term care will be growing a great deal.

For more information on this exciting field check out ATRA, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association or NCTRC, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

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