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ATRA Code of Ethics (1990)

American Therapeutic Recreation Association
Current Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics (1990)
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 recreation 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.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association acts as an advocate for members of the Therapeutic Recreation profession and consumers. Our objectives include:
  • to promote and advance public awareness and understanding of Therapeutic Recreation
  • to develop and promote professional standards for Therapeutic Recreation
  • to advocate the advancement of Therapeutic Recreation services with education, habilitation, rehabilitation, and medical treatment of individuals in need of services
  • to support and conduct research and demonstration efforts to improve service
  • to support and conduct educational opportunities for Therapeutic Recreation professionals.
Therapeutic Recreation personnel shall treat persons in an ethical manner not only by respecting their decisions and protecting them from harm but also by actively making efforts to secure their well-being. Personnel strive to maximize possible benefits, and minimize possible harms. This serves as the guiding principle for the profession. The term"persons" includes not only persons served but colleagues, agencies and the profession.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel have a duty to preserve and protect the right of each individual to make his/her own choices. Each individual is to be given the opportunity to determine his/her own course of action in accordance with a plan freely chosen.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for ensuring that individuals are served fairly and that there is equity in the distribution of services. Individuals receive service without regard to race, color, creed, sex, age, disability/disease, social and financial status.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel have an obligation to be truthful, faithful and meet commitments made to persons receiving services, colleagues, agencies and the profession.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for providing each individual receiving service with information regarding the service and the professional's training and credentials; benefits, outcomes, length of treatment, expected activities, risks, limitations. Each individual receiving service has the right to know what is likely to take place during and as a result of professional intervention. Informed consent is obtained when information is provided by the professional.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for safeguarding information about individuals served. individuals served have the right to control information about themselves. When a situation arises that requires disclosure of confidential information about an individual to protect the individual's welfare or the interest of others, the Therapeutic Recreation professional has the responsibility/obligation to inform the individual served of the circumstances in which confidentiality was broken.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel have the responsibility to continually seek to expand one's knowledge base related to Therapeutic Recreation practice. The professional is responsible for keeping a record of participation in training activities. The professional has the responsibility for contributing to changes in the profession through activities such as research, dissemination of information through publications and professional presentations, and through active involvement in professional organizations.

Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for complying with local, state and federal laws and ATRA policies governing the profession of Therapeutic Recreation.

March 1990

(Special Thanks to Dr. Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, CTRS and Ms. Sharon Nichols, CTRS.)



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