Recreational therapy is a service where a recreational therapist works with a person to meet his or her personal goals through different leisure activities. For example, if a person has a goal to get healthy, a recreational therapist may go swimming or go to a park to play basketball. Another example would be if a client has a goal to make more friends. To work on this goal might go with the person to an art class in the community or go to a music concert. Recreational therapists can also work with folks on craft projects, painting, and even playing video games! Recreational therapy is about being active (either physically, cognitively, or both) and having fun doing things you like.
Although recreational therapy involves play, it isn’t “play therapy” or “art therapy”. This is something that gets brought up a lot when discussing recreational therapy. The goals of recreational therapy are different than play or art therapy. Art and play therapy are both entwined with the mental health field and take a regimented psychological approach to get people to unlock or open up about their feelings and emotions. Recreational therapy is not joined with mental-health based psychological therapy. While it does take a systematic approach to reach a person’s goals, it is focused on using leisure activities to achieve an overall feeling of physical and mental well being. It is also used to teach life skills and socialization skills to people to empower them and encourage community involvement.
Recreational therapy can either be facility-based or community based. However, our recreational therapists typically work with folks in the community. As you can see from the video, it isn’t unusual to see our therapists out and about at local parks or YMCAs.
Let’s say that you are interested in starting recreational therapy up with Sweet Behavior. What happens next? If you are looking at beginning services with Sweet Behavior or are looking to switch providers, the first step is to give us a call. We will get some information from you about yourself/your loved one you are calling about. This will give us a chance to see if we have any current openings in your area and for us to match you/your loved one with the perfect recreational therapist to meet yours/your loved one’s needs. After this, a recreational therapist might want to meet with you/your loved one to gather more history or information. Before deciding to come to Sweet Behavior, you/your loved one can always request a meeting with one of our recreational therapists before making a final decision. If you are new to services, we strongly encourage you to call around and interview as many providers as possible to learn about the services in your area. Remember: you/your loved one always has a choice!
Once you have selected Sweet Behavior and we have paired you/your loved one up with a recreational therapist, the next step is for a recreational therapist to meet with you and/or your loved ones to talk about the goals that recreational therapy can help you/your loved one achieve and talk about the leisure activities that you/your loved one likes. The recreational therapist will probably bring a bunch of different instruments to the first meeting to see what you/your loved one is drawn to.
After the initial meeting, the recreational therapist will start to develop a plan of therapy with individualized interventions to help you/your loved one reach his or her goals. Recreational therapists usually have sessions with folks once a week for at least an hour at a time. The therapists can come to the home or you/your loved one can meet at our office or another community location to start a session. It all depends on what works best for the person.