Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The TR Trick

Any time I tell someone I am studying Therapeutic Recreation, they immediately ask, "Do you get to take all of the fun classes?" A lot of my friends take offense to this because we truly do have hard classes and a serious career path, but I prefer to take it comically. This is the trick to TR - people think we are just playing, but in reality, we are assessing, processing, teaching principles, and generalizing these principles to the patients' lives. 

This is what we see when we plan an activity:

This is called the leisure ability model. At the beginning, the purpose is to improve functional behaviors. This area is called treatment. The CTRS prescribes the activities for the client. The activities are planned, prepared for, and executed by the CTRS. As the client begins to improve functional behaviors, he moves on to the next step. For example, as a CTRS, I could work with someone who has traumatic brain injury who will show a variety of characteristics such as hand eye coordination, communication, interaction, and left-neglect. I would plan an activity such as Tetris that we will play together. This will work on his hand-eye coordination as he tries to fit the pieces together. Also, we will be talking which will work on his communication and interaction. He will have to use both hands, which will increase his use of his left side to overcome left neglect. 

Are you starting to see how this is much more than playing?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Therapeutic Recreation

I absolutely love Recreational Therapy! I was studying Psychology and constantly found myself brought down by determinism and humanistic theories. When I found out about the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Major, I fell in love! I enjoy analogies so I compare TR to a counseling session (with one or more people), but rather than sitting around talking about problems, we GO EXPERIENCE THEM! For example, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) takes a group out fly fishing, and as they run into problems such as rain, arguments, etc., the CTRS teaches them problem-solving skills to overcome the situation. Then (s)he talks about generalizing these new skills to specific life events they are dealing with. Also, as they run into success, the CTRS points this out and applauds them. Experience has such a great effect!

So this leads me to my definition of TR:
A holistic process that purposefully uses recreation and leisure activities to bring about a positive change socially, emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually to create and maintain a better quality of life.

Please comment: What are your thoughts on recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation? How has it impacted your life?