Rehab Insights is a weekly blog written by Burke Rehabilitation professionals to offer practical information for patients, families and the community. Its goal is to educate the reader on relevant topics in rehabilitation, general health and wellness.

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

February 8, 2016

Did you know? February is National Therapeutic Recreation Month! Here’s a little bit more about the profession:

 The official definition, from The American Therapeutic Recreation Association: “Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being. Further, ‘Recreational Therapy’ means 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.” 

If you’ve been a patient at Burke, you may have already worked with some of our recreation therapists (RTs) on staff. Each RT not only provides therapy and resources for our inpatient population, but they routinely offer programs and education for the community.

What you might not know about RT’s:  

  • In order to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), you must first earn a BS or MS degree in the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies/Recreational Therapy.
  • Then they complete a 560-hour internship in a CTRS supervised setting
  • Once they have met both of these requirements, they are then eligible to sit for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification Exam. If they pass, they then earn the right to use the CTRS insignia and title.
  • In order to maintain continued certification, they must re-certify every 5 years and submit 50 CEUs of Continuing Education in the field
  • The New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association is currently spearheading the effort to license RT in NY State! RT’s are already licensed in 5 states: District of Colombia, Utah, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
  • RT’s use a holistic approach to developing meaningful therapy goals for patients, taking into account the patients’ personal recreation and leisure interests.
  • It doesn’t have to look like traditional therapy to be therapeutic! Co-treatments, sessions outdoors, community programs and unconventional approaches to treatment are just some ways to meet patient goals.

At Burke, the therapeutic recreation department also offers community-based programming that includes, but is not limited to, meditation class, a year-round hand cycling program, grant writing for individuals with physical disabilities, adaptive kayaking, adaptive golf awareness day, support group presentations, educational lectures and volunteering with our partners in care.

To learn more about therapeutic recreation, click here. 

Blog Archive

Please note

Burke's Rehab Insights blog is intended to provide general information about rehabilitation and other health care topics. It should not take the place of medical care. Burke staff cannot comment on individual medical cases or give medical advice.

Thank you.