Recreation Therapy as Holistic Therapy

I recently had the opportunity to write an article about Recreation Therapy for a website dedicated to promoting different health care professions. While brainstorming an article, several ideas came to mind. For example:

  • Essential Skills of a Recreation Therapist (based on a previous blog post)
  • What Every Aspiring Recreation Therapist Needs to Know
  • How Recreation Therapy Helps Others
  • What Makes Recreation Therapy Different from Other Therapies
  • A Day in the Life of a Recreation Therapist

And the list could go on and on.

One idea stuck with me. Recreation Therapy as holistic therapy. After all, “holistic” is a popular buzzword in many health care facilities including nursing/retirement homes, addiction treatment centers, and other rehabilitation settings.

image of a teamHolistic refers to treating the whole person. Instead of focusing on specific symptoms or diagnoses, this holistic therapy helps treat imbalances in the mind, body, and even the soul. Basically, it allows a person opportunities to change personal habits and explore new ways of achieving optimum health.

And really, isn’t addressing the way a person spends his or her leisure time a great way to address holistic health? After all, the choices we make in our free time can directly affect how we think, feel, and interact with the rest of the world.

Is society undervaluing the role of Recreation Therapy as holistic therapy? Maybe.

Why I Chose to be a Recreation Therapist

I guess long ago I knew the importance of Recreation Therapy as holistic therapy. This is why I chose the profession.

I think back to my undergraduate days when I had to choose a major. My grades were good, but I didn’t have any real direction. I knew I wanted to choose a helping profession, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. At first, I wanted to pursue Music Therapy, because I loved playing music. Unfortunately, the university I planned to attend (after graduating community college) didn’t accept guitar as a primary instrument.

So I was at a crossroads. I investigated other options like Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy. While they seemed interesting, I kept gravitating towards Recreation Therapy. This was back before the turn of the century when RT was still considered a billable therapy. Yeah, I’m that old.

Recreation Therapy stood out to me because of the diversity of the field. There were so many engaging activities that can help people grow and thrive. Looking back, I could have chosen one of the other therapies and been more financially secure with much more family friendly hours. Of course, I was young–that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. And sure, PT or OT would have done a lot better for my savings account at this time in my life, but the experiences and memories I’ve had over the past couple decades certainly wouldn’t have been so interesting.

I guess this is all kind of a long aside, but I think it points to the fact that I intuitively knew Recreation Therapy offered opportunities to holistically treat those in need. Even if I wasn’t aware of the term “holistic” back then.

Getting the Word Out

As holistic treatments gain popularity, I believe it is important others know just how important Recreation Therapy as holistic therapy can be.

Feel free to check out the article I wrote for the Careers in Healthcare website to promote Recreational Therapy. If you like it, share it with others.

The more we promote our profession to others, the more they realize just how essential Recreation Therapy is for transforming lives.

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So what do you think about Recreation Therapy as holistic therapy?

How did you get into the Recreation Therapy profession?

What made you believe in the importance of Recreation Therapy?

What topics would you like to see in the Real Recreation Therapist website?

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