Recreational therapy includes providing treatment services and recreation activities to individuals using a variety of techniques including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community outings. With services provided and supervised by a certified recreation specialist, recreational therapy is used as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being.
Recreational therapists treat and help maintain the physical and emotional well-being of their clients. They do this by seeking to reduce depression, stress, and anxiety while recovering basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities. Recreational therapy can build self-confidence and needed social skills. Under the guidance of a trained recreational therapist, the client can begin to release and explore negative feelings of anger, hurt, or shame as they relate to past experiences that may have blocked or linger still.
The therapy is often used in the treatment of trauma, eating disorders, behavior disorders, anger management, grief and loss recovery, and, substance abuse.
It is also recommended for those who wish to be free of painful, unhappy, or otherwise bad feelings from past experiences, to change the nature of their current and future relationships, and to live up to their full potential.
The Growth of Recreational Therapy For Addiction Treatment
A form of experiential therapy that dates back to the early 1900s, recreational therapy, also known as adventure therapy, has proven an effective therapeutic approach for addiction recovery.
Recreational therapy can be used to treat depression, childhood trauma, anxiety, and anger management. Usually consisting of outdoor activities, the benefits of this therapy include:
- Learning to trust yourself and others
- Sense of accomplishment from physical and mental challenges
- Team-building and leadership skills
- Stronger self-esteem and greater self-confidence
- Developing problem-solving skills
- Emotional discovery and healing
- Facing fears head on without numbing them
- Improvement in fine motor skills and coordination
- Helps patients step out of their comfort zone
- Awareness of strengths and weaknesses
Recreational therapy has shown huge growth and development over the past 20 years or so. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that there are over 19,000 recreational therapists in the U.S.
According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, “Recreational therapy is a service used to restore, remediate, and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life’s activities, to promote health and wellness.”
The DOL also suggests that recreational therapy will continue to grow, what with increases in the therapy being offered in acute care hospitals and outpatient facilities, day treatment settings, and community living situations.
Recreational therapy, or RT, can improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual functioning. With the functioning and clarity offered through recreational therapy, people are enabled to participate more fully in life.
Types of Recreational Therapy For Substance Abuse
Recreational therapy includes—but is not limited to—providing activities for people using a variety of techniques. These techniques include—but are not limited to:
- arts and crafts-
- interactions with animals
- sports and games
- outdoor activities like kayaking, ropes courses, and rock climbing
- dance and movement
- music and art
- community outings
Adventure therapy is a type of recreational therapy that offers supervised outdoor activities, such as kayaking, ropes courses, canoeing, fly fishing, rock climbing, hiking, and the like. It has proven effective in the treatment of depression, childhood trauma, anxiety, and anger management, while also promoting team-building and improving fine motor skills and coordination.
Music and Art Therapy
Music and art therapy is another type of recreational therapy. These therapies offer people the opportunity to express themselves creatively. They are also effective in coping with stress, grief, and loss. One of the goals of these types of therapy is providing insight into people’s emotions and encouraging communication between loved ones.
Art can produce a powerful release of feelings that can be healing to the mind, body, and spirit. A licensed art therapist offers encouragement and guidance while emphasizing the process of the artistic creation, not the final product. Art therapy can be a creative tool for sharing memories and exploring coping skills.
Music therapy is a creative opportunity for people and families to express emotions in an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. This therapy can include songwriting, performance, and vocal or musical improvisation. No musical background or experience is necessary to enjoy its benefits.
Meditation therapy has been used all over the world for many years and contains many possible health benefits. It has been known to manage pain and reduce stress. Meditation therapy is widely practiced and can also relieve nervous system complaints such as headaches and depression.
This is done by people changing their brainwave state into theta, which is relaxing, or alpha, which is resting. When a person is able to make his or her brain rhythm decrease in this way, the heart rate, metabolism, and breathing rate all slow down as the blood pressure lowers. Meanwhile, endorphins are released into the system as the mind calms.
Equine therapy consists of direct interactions between people and horses. The interactions include grooming, feeding, haltering, and other assorted task-oriented groundwork that slowly yet surely builds a relationship between human and horse. Equine therapy can be fun, hard, and sometimes frustrating, but often illuminating.
It is an evidence-based therapy that has shown efficacy in patients with depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, autism, and other chronic mental disorders. Equine therapy has also been shown to be a highly effective form of therapy in the treatment of substance use disorder and related mental health issues.
With their lack of ego and ability to pick up on body language as a true indicator of intention, horses are incredible teachers. Horses have been utilized to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, reduce recidivism among convicts, and aid troubled teens.
Recovering Through Our Recreational Therapy In Kentucky For Addiction Treatment
At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we know how difficult quitting drugs and alcohol can be. Every day, we teach and demonstrate to our clientele how to live a successful and sober lifestyle.
From helping you manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to discovering the coping mechanisms to deal with everyday life, the certified staff at JourneyPure Bowling Green is here for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us now for more information. Your call is free and confidential, and there is no obligation to enroll. Let us help you find your way to recovery!