Recreation and leisure are necessary for a happy and healthy lifestyle. Therapeutic Recreation professionals (CTRS's) should be dedicated to helping their clientele, whatever their disability may be, to enjoy and to grow through recreation and leisure experiences. These experiences should be much more than just games or activities. They should challenge them, help them to recognize their real potential, help them learn about themselves and the world around them, and most importantly, they should increase the individual's quality of living.
Therapeutic recreation is defined as a holistic process using recreation and leisure of all different kinds to bring about a positive change, either socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, or spiritually, in an effort to maintain and improve overall quality of life. I believe that anyone who practices in the field should be driven to guide others in this therapeutic process to bring about this positive change in their lives. I also believe that the process is individual. For each client to achieve that higher quality of life, the activities they participate in must be designed to meet their specific needs and reach their individual therapy goals.
The following diagram demonstrates how the process works in therapeutic recreation and when the CTRS assumes the roles of therapist, counselor, and resource for the client. As individuals participates in the process, their needs and goals will change, so the CTRS will continuously adapt to meet those new needs and goals. Throughout the therapeutic process, participants will improve in their functional behaviors, learn new skills, gain new resources, overcome barriers to recreation and leisure, and learn to better participate in healthy forms of recreation.
"Therapeutic Recreation is a profession which recognizes leisure, recreation and play as integral components of quality of life. Service is provided to individuals who have physical, mental, social or emotional limitations which impact their ability to engage in meaningful leisure experiences.
Therapeutic Recreation is directed toward functional interventions, leisure education and participation opportunities. These processes support the goal of assisting the individual to maximize the independence in leisure, optimal health and the highest possible quality of life."
"It is the philosophy of the Therapeutic Recreation program that leisure and recreation are inherent aspects of the human experience. Therapeutic recreation is a process of utilizing recreation activities for intervention in physical, emotional, and/or social behavior to bring about a change which promotes the growth and development of the individual."
There are various recreational therapy philosophies and models. For more insight on this subject and help forming your own philosophy or model, see this presentation from NorthStar Behavioral Health.
This essay is also full of useful information about TR philosophies.