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Definitions of recreational therapy

2000 National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS):

Therapeutic recreation uses treatment, education and recreation services to help people with illnesses, disabilities and other conditions to develop and use their leisure in ways that enhance their health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life. Approved by the NTRS Board of Directors
October 14, 2000

EDITORS NOTE: NTRS is no longer active (10-12-10)

1991 Dictionary of Occupational Titles 076.124-014 RECREATIONAL THERAPIST: alternate title: therapeutic recreation worker:

Plans, organizes, and directs medically approved recreation program for patients in hospitals and other institutions: Directs and organizes such activities as sports, dramatics, games, and arts and crafts to assist patients to develop interpersonal relationships, to socialize effectively, and to develop confidence needed to participate in group activities. Regulates content of program in accordance with patients' capabilities, needs and interests. Instructs patients in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, concentration, and other activities, to reduce stress and tension. Instructs patients in calisthenics, stretching and limbering exercises, and individual and group sports. Counsels and encourages patients to develop leisure activities. Organizes and coordinates special outings and accompanies patients on outings, such as ball games, sightseeing, or picnics to make patients aware of available recreational resources. Prepares progress charts and periodic reports for medical staff and other members of treatment team, reflecting patients' reactions and evidence of progress or regression. May supervise and conduct in-service training of other staff members, review their assessments and program goals, and consult with them on selected cases. May train groups of volunteers and students in techniques of recreation therapy. May serve as consultant to employers, educational institutions, and community health programs. May prepare and submit requisition for needed supplies.

1986 American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA):

Therapeutic recreation is the provision of Treatment Services and the provision of Recreation Services to persons with illnesses or disabling conditions. The primary purposes of Treatment Services which are often referred to as Recreational Therapy, are to restore, remediate or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. The primary purposes of Recreational Services are to provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being. Therapeutic Recreation is provided by professionals who are trained and certified, registered and/or licensed to provide Therapeutic Recreation.

1982 David Austin

[Therapeutic recreation] is the provision of purposeful intervention designed to help clients grow and to assist them to prevent or relieve problems through recreation and leisure.

1977 Dictionary of Occupational Titles, group 076 THERAPISTS:

This group includes occupations concerned with the treatment and rehabilitation of persons with physical or mental disabilities or disorders, to develop or restore functions, prevent loss of physical capacities, and maintain optimum performance. Includes occupations utilizing means, such as exercise, massage, heat, light, water, electricity, and specific therapeutic apparatus, usually as prescribed by a physician; or participation in medically oriented rehabilitative programs, including recreational, occupational, and educational activities. This group includes: recreational, occupational, physical, manual-arts, art, music, industrial, and corrective therapies; audiology; speech pathology; coordination of rehabilitation services; orientation therapist for the blind; and physical and occupational therapy assistants.

1972 Frye and Peters

Therapeutic recreation is a process through which purposeful efforts are directed toward achieving or maximizing desired concomitant effects of a recreation experience

Western Carolina University (WCU):

Recreational therapy refers to the prescribed use of recreational and other activities as treatment interventions to improve the functional living competence of persons with physical, mental, emotional and/or social disadvantages.

1994 National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS):

Definition of therapeutic recreation: Practiced in clinical, residential, and community settings, the profession of therapeutic recreation uses treatment, education, and recreation services to help people with illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions to develop and use their leisure in ways that enhance their health, independence, and well-being. Approved by the NTRS Board of Directors, February 4, 1994.

1991 Dictionary of Occupational Titles, group 076 THERAPISTS:

The only change was the addition of: horticulture, dance, and respiratory therapies; voice pathology; exercise physiology; physical-integration practitioner; and the addition of mobility to orientation 'and mobility' therapist for the blind.

1989 O'Morrow & Reynolds

The unique function of therapeutic recreation is to assist the client, sick or well, in the performance of those leisure activities and experiences contributing to health or its recovery, including general recreation participation.

1985 Carter, Van Andel, & Robb

Therapeutic recreation refers to the specialized application of recreation for the specific purpose of intervening in and changing some physical, emotional, or social behavior to promote the growth and development of the individual. Therapeutic recreation may be viewed as a process of systematic use of recreation activities and experiences to achieve specific objectives.

1983 Kraus

[Therapeutic recreation is] a professionally directed service that provides recreational and related activities specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals suffering from some significant degree of illness or disability.

1980 O'Morrow

[Therapeutic recreation is] a process wherein recreation experiences are used to bring about a change in the behavior of those individuals with special needs or problems.

1980 Iso-Ahola

[Therapeutic recreation is] purposeful intervention designed to improve the client's quality of life through recreation and leisure.

1977 Dictionary of Occupational Titles 076.124-014 RECREATIONAL THERAPIST:

Plans, organizes, and directs medically approved recreation program for patients in hospitals and other institutions: Directs and organizes such activities as adapted sports, dramatics, social activities, and arts and crafts, regulating content of program in accordance with patients' capabilities, needs, and interest. Prepares reports for patient's physician or treatment team, describing patients' reactions, and symptoms indicative of progress or regression.

1936 "Principles and Practice of Recreational Therapy" by Drs. John Eisele Davis and William Rush Dunton, Jr.:

Recreational therapy is "any free, voluntary and expressive activity; motor, sensory or mental, vitalized by the expansive play spirit, sustained by deep-rooted pleasurable attitudes and evoked by wholesome emotional release; prescribed by medical authority as an adjuvant in treatment."




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