Therapeutic Recreation

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association defines “Therapeutic Recreation” as 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.

Art is empirically shown and widely believed to increase well-being.  Studies show that art can positively affect well-being in participants with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, autism, and schizophrenia (Mirabella, 2015) as well as many other conditions.    Art is widely used for therapeutic purposes with a long history of success.   In addition, expressive arts provide a sense of accomplishment and a path for satisfaction, contemplation, exhilaration and liberation (Devine, 2016, p. 233).


How is our Arts-Based Therapeutic Recreation program different from our art classes/lessons?

Our Arts-Based Therapeutic Recreation program is for those who are looking to use the arts to attain goals outside of improving their artistic skills and abilities.  Arts-Based therapeutic recreation activities are driven by the goals for each client as determined through the intake and assessment process.  We often use painting, drawing, scrapbooking, crafts to address goals related to communication, social, cognitive, and motor skills.  Our yoga and dance programs may also help attain goals related to mindfulness, and physical or emotional health.  Our Therapeutic Recreation Specialists use the arts to enhance the quality of life of participants.

Sample Therapeutic Recreation Goals

Specific goals are determined following an intake/assessment.  Goals/services are monitored through strengths-based assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation.

  • To promote an individual participant’s desires and personal goals
  • To help develop improved cognitive abilities such as problem solving, communication, memory, decision making, following directions
  • To facilitate physical activity for benefits in fine motor skill development, range of motion, gross motor skill development, focus, increased strength and flexibility
  • To assist in community integration and engagement, accessibility, community outings, resource awareness and utilization
  • To encourage lifestyles involving relaxation methods, assertiveness, leisure skill development, and stress management
  • To enhance important social skills, coping mechanisms, self‐esteem and confidence

Sample Arts-Based Therapeutic Recreation Interventions

Interventions are chosen based on the therapeutic goals/interests of each client.

  • Painting
  • Weaving
  • Multimedia/Collage
  • Crafts
  • Clay/Pottery
  • Coloring
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Drums Alive!

To learn more about arts-based therapeutic recreation services and how they may help you or your clients, contact [email protected]