Discover your career path

Recreational Therapist

Use art, games, and other activities to help patients overcome problems.

What does a Recreational Therapist do?

A Recreational Therapist treats illness through recreation. According to the dictionary, recreation is “activity that’s done for enjoyment.” In other words, recreation is fun. Illness, on the other hand, is decidedly un-fun. It seems a logical conclusion, therefore, that one would be an effective treatment for the other.

When you’re a Recreational Therapist, that’s your belief. Employed by hospitals, schools, clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers, you’re paid to help patients overcome mental and physical illnesses and disabilities by engaging them in recreational activities, such as art, crafts, music, dance, games, and sports.

You might help children who have anger management issues by channeling their energy into painting. You might help senior citizens at risk of developing Alzheimer’s by giving them puzzles that keep their brains sharp. You might help improve the social skills of adults with social anxiety disorders by letting them participate in group activities. Or, you might help disabled teens overcome mental and physical barriers by letting them engage in athletics.

The opportunities for a Recreational Therapist are infinite. The methods, meanwhile, are universal. To help patients overcome obstacles, you interview and observe them, consult with Doctors, and administer standardized tests in order to assess the nature and extent of their challenges. Then, based on your findings, you develop and execute a treatment plan that includes recreational activities that can help them reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, recover motor functioning and reasoning abilities, and develop new physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities

Whether your patients suffer from low self-confidence or serious physical handicaps, you understand that medication isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, the best medicine is a hobby — and you supply it!