What is Recreation Therapy?

Recreation Therapy, also known as Therapeutic Recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions that are based upon the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions. The purpose of the RT process is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life. 

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS)

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) are recognized as the professionals qualified to provide recreation as a related service. They organize, conduct, and administer therapeutic recreation and leisure programs designed to assist in the habilitation or rehabilitation of persons with emotional​, physical, or cognitive disabilities.

A CTRS utilizes play, recreation, and leisure activities to help clients develop functional skills, activities of daily living, and academic skills in the following domains:

COGNITIVE: By increasing short and long term memory, attention span, decision making, problem solving, and planning skills.

PHYSICAL: By improving perceptual motor skills, balance, agility, and athletic skills.

BEHAVIORAL: By increasing the ability to make age appropriate activity/participation choices in inclusive community settings, and by decreasing self-stimulating, stereotypic, self-abusive, or other non-adaptive or inappropriate behaviors. 

SOCIAL: By increasing skills in conversation, assertiveness, cooperation, sharing, and competition. 

AFFECTIVE: By improving emotional health through the reduction of depression, stress, and anxiety, and increasing self-concept, self-esteem, and adjustment to disability. 

Why Activities and Games

The above list is no more than an indication of how games and activities may be used. many other benefits and purposes can be derived. 

  • social development
  • aiding interaction within groups
  • increasing self-esteem
  • improving thinking ability 
  • learning to accept responsibility 
  • making decisions
  • learning to work with others
  • promoting the ability to explore a situation
  • promoting sensitivity 
  • improving judgement
  • relaxation
  • relieving anxiety
  • developing ideas
  • fun and enjoyment

  • initiating conversation
  • developing conversation
  • increasing awareness
  • building trust
  • helping poor memory
  • aiding clarity of speech 
  • motivating interest
  • breaking down social isolation
  • stimulating imagination and creativity
  • improving concentration
  • building self-confidence
  • helping perception and observation
  • increasing bodily skills
  • making physical contact
  • improving eye contact

Activities and games are natural, playful means of learning and expression enjoyed from childhood. They provide experience in a sheltered environment, promote an enjoyable atmosphere, relieves tension, breaks down social barriers, builds morale and confidence, and lessens fear more easily than any other method. Activities and games provide a use for knowledge and skill and gives incentive for acquiring these attributes. Games and activities stimulate the imagination, make people resourceful and helps develop social ability and cooperation. They can be used to reinforce other activities such as social skills and stimulate expression. From games and activities we can learn how to deal with day to day problems. Our general knowledge is improved when games and activities are linked to subjects such as history, art, and music. 

Games and activities can be used for many different purposes and derive a variety of benefits from them. The following are some of the purposes for which Live Through Rec. uses games and activities.