What is Recreation Therapy?
- 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 (ATRA, 2009).
- “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 reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition” (ATRA, 2009).
Further definition of Therapeutic Recreation as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. These therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm).
People who choose Therapeutic Recreation as their Profession:
- Have a passion for helping people with all abilities.
- Want a rewarding career that increases the physical well-being of others.
- Wish to make difference in the lives of others by using non-pharmacological interventions with a focus on recreation and nature.
- Want hands-on learning experiences. In this program, you will be engaged with a variety of hands-on learning experiences both inside and out of the classroom. The Recreational Therapy curriculum will prepare you to work with children, adolescents, and adults with physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities in a variety of settings and specialty areas.
The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies offers a student focused Baccalaureate Degree in Recreation and Leisure studies, with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. Our focus on student success is paramount, modeling the skill set required from students in the field. In addition, the department offers minor degrees in:
- Recreation Leadership
- Nature Tourism
- Disability Studies
And a certificate in Environmental Wellness and Outdoor leadership.
Recreational therapists assist clients in developing skills, knowledge and behaviors for daily living and community involvement in a variety of settings:
- Long-Term Residential Care
- Hospitals & Clinics
- Community Park and Recreation Departments
- Residential group homes
- School systems
- Correctional facilities
- Home health
- Outdoor Treatment Programs
- Mental Health and Substance Use Programs
- Respite and Hospice Centers
- Veteran Services
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities
Quick Facts: Recreational Therapists
$46,410 per year
7% (As fast as average)
The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)
Maine Recreational Therapy Association (MERTA)
National Counsel for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
Our Partners (our partnerships continues to grow; this list is not inclusive):
Maine Veteran’s Hospital
National Sports Center for the Disabled
New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland
Outdoors for All
Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital for Children
Portland Center for Therapeutic Recreation
Riverview Psychiatric Center
St. Mary’s Regional Health Care Center/Hospital
Veterans Adaptive Sports Training (VAST) – Pineland Farms
And numerous nursing homes who support our student’s growth: Sedgewood, The Cedars, The Barron Center, The Woods at Canco, Maine Veteran’s Home, The Mooring, to name only a few. We are grateful for your continued partnership with USM RLS.