When people think of therapy, they often imagine sitting on a comfortable sofa facing a calm, understanding therapist. It may be difficult to believe that participating in recreational activities alongside your therapist can be just as valuable. Understanding the solid evidence backing therapeutic recreation will help you find the best place to receive recreational therapy in Morriston, FL.

What Is the Goal of Recreational Therapy?

Recreational therapy is a form of therapy that’s been practiced for around 20 years. While traditional therapy methods rely on direct interactions between a professional and the client without distractions, therapeutic recreation uses various physical activities to address patients’ needs.

The recreational therapy programs aim to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning to facilitate full participation in life. The approach has proven helpful in improving patients’ mental, physical and emotional well-being.

a group of people following a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at Transformations Mending Fences as they engage in recreation therapy dance classes to improve physical and mental health

The Need for Recreational Therapists Work

Recreational therapy doesn’t simply occur whenever you engage in fun, artsy or playful activities. Instead, it requires you to follow a treatment plan created by a certified recreational therapist. The recreational therapist incorporates activities you enjoy into the plan, making it easier for you to fully engage and learn.

Statistics from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) show that more than 19,200 therapeutic recreation specialists operate nationwide. These professionals can be found in schools, hospitals, mental health facilities, drug rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes.

Recreational therapists possess a wealth of knowledge about the latest evidence-based techniques for improving overall well-being. They nurture their analytical skills to ensure they can curate recreational therapy experiences unique to each individual’s needs.

Most recreational therapists typically use qualities such as active listening, patience and leadership to help you identify problems in different spheres of your life and impart healthy coping skills you can apply to daily living.

What Activities Are Part of Recreational Therapy?

At Transformations Mending Fences, our recreational therapy program provides activities for the client that cover the physical, spiritual, artistic, intellectual, social and sensory domains. These community resources are great for veterans and first responders and are part of our Help For Our Heroes program.

Recreational therapists work to facilitate activities that can be part of recreational therapy treatment plans. These recreational activities include:

  • Creative writing or storytelling
  • Music therapy such as singing or playing musical instruments
  • Arts and crafts
  • Dance and movement
  • Gardening or cooking
  • Playing board games, sports or video games
  • Yoga

Artistic activities help you develop the ability to self-soothe and achieve the balance necessary to handle emotional and psychological triggers in a healthy way.

A taxing physical activity such as swimming, rock climbing or zip-lining can stimulate the release of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins help you relax and feel happy and boost your self-confidence.

A therapeutic recreation specialist can use video games, board games and puzzles to teach you better reasoning abilities and enhance your problem-solving skills. As a result, you can look at the bigger picture and choose the best course of action instead of reacting rashly to any provocation.

Recreational activities also help you understand your role in a community. Video games, outdoor sports and activities such as dancing or cooking boost your collaborative skills. They can teach you better communication skills and help you become a valuable part of functional teams in your family, social circle, professional life and community.

a woman in a wheelchair participating in recreational therapy with certified therapeutic recreation specialists to improve psychological and physical health

How Effective Is Recreational Therapy?

Recreational therapy is helpful in different areas of life. Usually, recreational therapists work with:

  • Children and young people with developmental disabilities, chronic illness and emotional regulation issues
  • Individuals who need rehabilitation after accidents, surgeries and conditions such as heart attacks and strokes
  • People with substance use disorders
  • Seniors who need help adapting to their changing physical and mental capabilities

The benefits of working with a therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS) among different populations have been well-documented over the years. A 2019 study found that recreational therapy that accommodates individuals’ leisure preferences can improve recovery outcomes for individuals with mental health issues.

Research conducted among teenagers with chronic illness showed that therapeutic recreation helps adolescents facing social isolation develop better communication skills, gain the ability to adapt to different social situations and forge stronger relationships.

Moreover, an analysis of older adults found that therapeutic recreation programs for the elderly result in better social skills, higher levels of emotional intelligence and improved physical and cognitive capabilities.

Recreational Therapy Services in Morriston, FL

Getting therapy doesn’t have to consist only of formal interactions with a healthcare professional. A certified recreational therapist can utilize recreation and leisure activities you love to help you develop essential skills in multiple areas of your life. The treatment options offered at Transformations Mending Fences include recreational therapy services led by experienced professionals.

If you live around Morriston, FL, and want to learn if this evidence-based therapy is right for you, call us today at (866) 305-7134. We are one of the best residential mental health facilities in Florida. We provide a safe and supportive environment for therapeutic activities that enhance your overall well-being. You can also verify your insurance coverage online to see if you’re covered for recreational therapy.