by Camp ASCCA
Recreational Therapy to Treat Mental Illness
Article by Groshan Fabiola
Recreational therapy is one of the leading forms of mental health care today. It is not meant to treat mental illness on its own; instead, it is used in addition to the core therapeutic, psychiatric and medication-based treatments that an individual is receiving. Recreational therapy may include music, swimming, physical therapy, team sports and art therapy, which can include ceramics and painting. These activities can give a person a sense of self worth and return some normalcy to their life.
According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, recreational therapy is “a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.” Some people receive recreational therapy as part of an out-patient treatment plan, which includes regularly scheduled visits to a mental health facility or office with trained professionals. Other people receive this type of therapy as an inpatient service, which means they are living in a mental illness treatment center full-time while undergoing various types of therapies on a daily basis.
In order to provide any sort of therapeutic mental health care, including recreational therapy, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree and professional license. Most therapists have master’s degrees, and psychiatrists need to have PhDs. The education is important because it provides therapists with the skills and knowledge to effectively alleviate mental illness symptoms using the leading techniques in the proper format.
With effective recreation therapy treatment, patients can learn to lead productive lives, participate in social activities and have healthier relationships in the future. They can also learn better ways to cope with stress than what they have grown accustomed to, which is something that many people could benefit from.
About the Author
Therapeutic Recreation can help people of all ages and backgrounds to get well, live well, and stay well!Therapeutic Recreation programs utilize recreation to help individuals with temporary impairments, other health conditions, and disabilities to increase independence, strengthen leisure skills, and enhance personal well being — physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially in a rehabilitative environment. Therapeutic Recreation can improve functional abilities, enhance recreation skills and attitudes, build confidence, ease fears, improve physical abilities, promote greater self-reliance, strengthen interpersonal skills, manage stress, and enrich their quality of life. www.norfolk.gov
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