Recreation Therapy at New Hope
Recognizing the value of therapeutic recreational programs
In honor of Recreational Therapy Month, which is recognized each February, New Hope Carolinas wishes to educate stakeholders about the wonderful benefits and positive impact recreational programs have for individuals living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive difficulties.
Recreational therapy utilizes leisure based activities to help stimulate and improve the overall health and well-being of individuals. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), therapeutic recreation specialists – also known as recreational therapists – plan, direct, deliver and evaluate recreation-based interventions for individuals in need of services.
Recreational therapy programs are a huge factor in helping adolescents learn and live a healthier and fulfilling life. By participating in recreational activities on a regular basis, our adolescents are able to achieve improved socialization, interpersonal relationships and skills needed to reintegrate back into the community.
At New Hope Carolinas, we employee 2 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Therapist, 2 Recreational Therapy Aides, and a Director of Recreation Therapy, who offer services to every child that enter our doors. Some of the interventions employed are:
- Community service every 12 weeks
- Community reintegration outings
- Animal activities
- Facility events bringing all of the youth together
- Hygiene education
- Girls on Track and a Boys running program
- Groups that support our clinical approaches “CBT, DBT, TF-CBT, Good Lives Model”
- And more …
When thinking about the benefits of recreation, the statement “when talk therapy isn’t enough”, comes to the mind of our Director of Recreation, who simply believe adolescents learn better through experimental experiences, and uses Healing thru Fun as the foundation of the RT program at New Hope Carolinas.
Benefits of leisure and recreational activities
Recreational therapy isn’t just about fun and games; it offers physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits, and I think everyone in the Mental Health field can agree those are vital areas to target when taking a holistic approach to care. Below are some benefits:
- Increased mobility, flexibility and range of motion;
- Improved physical endurance, coordination, agility and balance;
- Opportunities to find and build relationships;
- Stronger connections with family and the community;
- Relaxation and stress reduction;
- Boosted self-esteem;
- Increased mental alertness and attention span; and
- Improved problem-solving skills“