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Activity Therapist

Provide recreation and socialization for recovering patients.

What does an Activity Therapist do?

To a dedicated crafter, knitting is a hobby. But to someone with a mental illness, knitting might also be a form of therapy that can help to soothe anxiety and improve concentration. An Activity Therapist develops programs full of tasks just like this to help people pass the time, rebuild their skills and improve their confidence.

As an Activity Therapist, you work in hospitals, adult day care centers, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. While Physical Therapists might help some of your patients amend their physical health, you focus your work on improving the mental health of those you work with. Doctors, general Psychologists and Parole Officers might tell you the aspects to focus on in your work, but the plans you develop are your own to control.

Large group activities, such as group choirs or sports games can help your patients break through their isolation, make friends and behave appropriately in social situations. Teaching them how to paint, knit and sew can help them express their creativity and inner thoughts.

Not all the work of an Activity Therapist is fun and games. Sometimes you hold specific classes on balancing a budget, putting together a menu or reading a bus schedule. After your talk, you hand out paperwork to your clients, so they can practice these tasks on their own.

In each session you hold, you take attendance, and you write notes about how each person performed. Afterward, you transfer these notes into the person’s medical record, so the whole treatment team can see what you’re doing and read about each patient’s progress.