What is Therapeutic Recreation?

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation Ontario endorses the following definition: Therapeutic Recreation is a process that utilizes functional intervention, education and recreation participation to enable persons with physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social limitations to acquire and/or maintain the skills, knowledge and behaviours that will allow them to enjoy their leisure optimally, function independently with the least amount of assistance and participate as fully as possible in society. Therapeutic Recreation intervention is provided by trained professionals in clinical and/or community settings.

The purpose of TR is to enable all individuals to achieve quality of life and optimal health through meaningful participation in recreation and leisure. The profession recognizes the importance of the recreation experience and supports all individuals in having full access to and the freedom to choose recreation and leisure opportunities.

What do TR professionals do?

  • Work with persons who may benefit from assistance to improve their quality of life
  • Use recreation and leisure to help maximize an individual’s independence
  • Make necessary adaptations to recreation and leisure opportunities to allow for full participation
  • Educate individuals about the skills and resources required to participate in recreation and leisure

TR Professionals use recreation and leisure to help people to:

  • Improve physical and cognitive abilities
  • Increase confidence and self-esteem
  • Foster greater involvement in the community
  • Strengthen interpersonal skills and relationships
  • Improve coping and adaptation skills
  • Enhance wellbeing
  • Encourage a greater sense of accomplishment
  • Realize the benefits of a healthy leisure lifestyle

Philosophical Statement for TR

The purpose of Recreation Therapy is to enable all individuals to achieve quality of life, and optimal health through meaningful experiences in recreation and leisure. We believe in the inherent capacities of individuals for personal growth, happiness and freedom. Recreation Therapy is a profession which provides service to, and advocates for individuals with physical, mental, social, behavioural or emotional limitations in a variety of settings such as hospitals, long-term care settings, day programs, community-based programs, and mental health centres. The Recreation Therapy profession recognizes the right of all citizens to have access to and the freedom to choose recreation and leisure opportunities regardless of their physical, financial, developmental, emotional, or social challenges OR the barriers imposed on them by society at large.

The foundation of the Recreation Therapy profession is the establishment of authentic relationships with the individual receiving services and all other key stakeholders. Utilizing a collaborative approach, Recreation Therapy follows a systematic process of assessment, goal-setting, program/intervention development, individual and group facilitation, documentation, and evaluation. Programs are designed to promote independent functioning within the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, behavioural and social domains, and to educate individuals about the skills and resources required to participate in recreation and leisure. The Recreation Therapy profession utilizes evidence-based practice to create outcome-based interventions suitable to the client’s abilities. As part of its advocacy, Recreation Therapy is committed to educating society about the rights and capacities of all citizens to participate in recreation and leisure. 

Where do TR Professionals work?

Recreation Therapists work in a variety of settings with a variety of populations. For example:

  • In hospitals
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Long-term care and retirement homes
  • Day programs
  • Mental health centres
  • Children’s treatment centres
  • Disability programs
  • Private practice

Established in 1999, Therapeutic Recreation Ontario (TRO) is the only professional association that represents Therapeutic Recreation practitioners in the province.

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